We came with low expectations, but ended up putting little Liechtenstein on our top 5 list of countries visited.

Liechtenstein is a tiny little country situated in the alps between Switzerland and Austria. It has a reputation of being very boring, extremely expensive and somewhat conservative. Hey, they waited with letting their women vote until 1984!

So we came with low expectations, but we were blown away with how awesome it was. So much that both me and my wife put it on our top 5 list of countries visited.

The view from Gutenberg Castle.

1. The views

Just as everywhere else in the Alps, there are vast elevation changes on all roads, which means you might get to amazing viewpoints just by driving ahead. Especially on the byways of Liechtenstein, you will experience some amazing ”wow”-moments along the way. And thanks to Liechtenstein not having heavy traffic, stops are possible here and there.

Me and my wife taking wedding shots on the Prince’s property. We were a bit nervous when the security vehicle passed us but they didn’t have anything against our little trespassing, (or didn’t want to kill the newlywed joy).

2. The castles

Liechtenstein has some interesting history and probably holds a world record of castles per capita. The most famous is the Vaduz Castle where the prince lives, but the most beautiful is probably Gutenberg. Both are open to the public at certain times, so be sure to check opening times before you go. The history geek will also appreciate a visit to Oberes and Unteres Burg in Schellenberg.

Gutenberg Castle, one of many castles on a hill!

3. The wine

There are vineyards everywhere in Liechtenstein and many people make their own wine. We visited Gutenberg Castle which is situated on a vineyard hill and they had a friendly social event with their own wine at the very time of our visit. We could have had some, but we had to head home and even though the entire country’s police force probably was present at the party, we didn’t want to have problems with the German Polizei on our drive home later that evening. But we nicked some amazing grapes on our way down the hill. Hope that’s ok. (Please don’t prosecute us when we come back).

My wife wearing her beloved Daniel Wellington watch in front of iconic Rotes Haus in Vaduz, where they also have a private vineyard. Fancy the watch more than wine? The code GENTONTHELOOSE gives you 15% off upon checkout.

4. The Hoi

”Hoi” is their own little way of saying hello. And as the entire country consists of only 30 000 inhabitants, I guess everyone knows everyone. Frankly we saw more goats than humans but the people we met were laid back and friendly.

Even the goats were friendly.

5. The size

Let’s face it. It’s so small that you might miss it if you blink while passing by. Well, almost. It’s only 40 kilometers from tip to toe and some 15 kilometers wide at the most. This makes it a perfect destination for someone who wants to ”see it all” but still fit it in a weekend. Skiing in Malbun, visit the Gutenberg castle in Balzers, seeing Vaduz and taking in the hills in Schellenberg and Mauren can actually be done in a day if you are efficient enough.

If Liechtenstein is too small for you, you can always walk over to Switzerland.

On a budget?

Good news. It is possible to visit Liechtenstein on a budget. There are some really affordable hotels or even guesthouse options in neighbouring Austria. And your biggest save will probably be to fill the car up in Austria, no matter where you’re headed next in Europe. We paid no more than 1€ per liter for Austrian diesel, which is around 40% cheaper than back home in Sweden and 30% cheaper than in Liechtenstein.

The tours around El Nido will take you to pretty lagoons, amazing beaches and stunning rock formations both above and underneath the water.

El Nido is located on the very northwestern tip of Palawan Island and the beauty comes with all the surrounding islands, so you will need to take an island hopping tour to properly enjoy the islands.

Matinloc Shrine, one of our favorite stops on Tour C.

How the tours work

The tours are named A, B, C and D and they are priced the same – no matter what tour operator you choose. They usually pick you up from the hotel in the morning and you will depart from the El Nido Harbor on a charming filipno power boat with 15-20 guests. On each stop you will have about 45 minutes to 2 hours to explore depending on how much there is to see. Lunch is provided on one of the longer stops. Tours A and C offer great kayaking and snorkelling opportunities too. It’s a full day trip and you’re usually home an hour before sunset.

The A and C tours provide amazing opportunities to take a swim in crystal clear water and snorkel around!

What tour operator to choose

We used Northern Hope Tours and it turned out to be the best decision ever! They were extremely professional and friendly, and they picked us up from our resort with a delay of only 15 minutes, which is extremely punctual by filipino standards. This is extremely important as we’ve understood many tours leave with huge delays which leaves the guests with not enough time to explore all stops. But Northern Hope gave us just enough time on each destination and even provided a nice lunch buffet.

Marcy and I approaching the famous Big Lagoon, one of the highlights of Tour A.

What tour to choose

If you haven’t got time to do all the tours, I’d suggest you choose Tour A and/or Tour C. You will se pretty lagoons, amazing rock formations both above and underneath the water.

No person in sight! My wife enjoying the white beach on Helicopter Island. Survivor was shot here in case you recognize it.

What to bring

– Flip flops or aqua shoes! I actually managed without it, but it is highly recommended as there is a lot of sharp coral.
– Waterproof duffy bags. You will have to jump in to the water so if you have cameras or such, secure them in a waterproof duffy.
– Cash! There are some creative vendors out there on kayaks. They will come to your boat with everything you may require such as soft drinks and coconuts and it might be fun to buy. Lunch is included with Northern Hope so don’t worry about that.

One of many creative vendors selling coconuts and soft drinks to the boat tourists on the small islands. Obviously a huge boy band fan too!

Extra costs

– Kayaks at the big lagoon (300 PHP per person).
– Conservation fee on Matinloc Island (100 PHP per person).

Some people make money to travel. Why not make money while we travel instead?

Thanks to my Freedesk Desk Riser, I stand up and work wherever I want to. I bring it on almost all my travels as it is really good for my back. BJORN upon checkout on thefreedesk.com gives you 20% off your entire purchase!
Thanks to my Freedesk Desk Riser, I stand up and work wherever I want to. I bring it on almost all my travels as it is really good for my back. BJORN upon checkout on thefreedesk.com gives you 20% off your entire purchase!

I’ve always been drawn by the freedom of not having a regular 9-5 job. Believe me, I have worked long hours and sometimes even more than full time, but being open to new opportunities has made it possible for me to combine work with travel. Being location independent has given me more liberty and joy than a regular paycheck. So what are the steps you can do to ”break free” without losing your financial wealth?

1. Take advantage of the digital era

Don’t quit your dayjob. Most meetings can be done via Skype or Facetime. If your work only requires you to sit behind a desk and a computer, bring a laptop with you so that you can work with a view. Talk with your employer and see if he or she thinks your tasks would be compatible with working remotely, at least to some extent. Most people have never dared to ask and just having the option to work remotely for some days might stimulate your inner travel bug.

2. Work less but for yourself

If you do quit your dayjob, try working for yourself. I have a small consultancy business. I do social media analysis for lifestyle brands. Working for myself makes it possible to trade some office hours for more travel.

3. Diversify your income stream

Being dependent on only one source of income might be hard and risky. I am studying sociology part time and I receive a small scholarship for my research each year. I have also been very interested in the stock market and have a few stocks that give me quarterly dividends. Again, no big bucks, but enough to save me on a rainy day.

4. Don’t underestimate the value of points

The biggest helper to working remotely is getting your points strategy right. This makes you fly and stay in hotels for free. Enroll in all frequent traveller programs, and seize the opportunity to accelerate or boost your points. Earn your points in nice promos where your activity will be rewarded with double or even quadruple points. Finally, redeem them when they are on sale.

5. Always be a gentleman

Be nice, flexible and always do what is expected from you. Working remotely is a privilege, so make sure your constituents know you’re grateful to be able to do so. And pay your taxes. A part of it goes to maintaining and growing your country’s diplomatic relations, which makes it easier for you to travel.

After visiting Montenegro, I simply can’t understand why people still travel to Croatia!

Kotor Marina, with the mountains and the church of St Ivan on the hill.

Montenegro is a very friendly little country down by the Adriatic sea. It is home to perfect beaches with clear turquoise waters, charming medieval villages and impressive fjords. The very tall mountains also offer excellent skiing opportunities if you decide to go in winter. But best of all – the herds of tourists haven’t discovered it yet. We’re glad we have.

The Croatian town of Dubrovnik, a short drive north of Montenegro.

The reason we went to Montenegro was originally my fiancées fascination with Game of Thrones and its filming location which is the little medieval town of Dubrovnik, Croatia, just north of the Montenegrin border. We spent 4 days exploring Montenegro, and after having done so, I simply can’t understand why people still travel to Croatia! The beauty is definitely located south of the border.

Your postcard from Montenegro – the cute little town of Perast.

1. Perast

This is a little Unesco town and I demand you not to miss it. It was our highlight of the trip, simply thanks to the beauty of it. This is your postcard from Montenegro! Please allow plenty of time for a swim in the crystal clear waters – you might see plenty of fish, and take a boat out to the islets of St George and Gospa od Skreplija.

The impressive small town of Kotor, seen from the main walkway to the Giovanni fortress. Can you spot my fiancée in the picture?

2. Kotor

Another Unesco town, and also the most popular tourist destination in the country. Both the harbor and the small alleys of the medieval town are lovely, but our highlight was to climb the fortress of San Giovanni to witness the sunset over Kotor Bay. The fortress is located a little bit over 1,2 kilometers above sea level and the trek is 4,5 kilometers. We took the southern path up and the main path down, which also led to the well-known chapel of St Ivan. Bring water and some hiking shoes, although a Russian lady we met was perfectly fine with high heels.

The historical luxury island of Sveti Stefan.

3. Sveti Stefan

Sveti Stefan is a little island that resembles Dubrovnik. There is a wall around it, and the bridge is still guarded. Nowadays it is mainly because the entire island is a premium luxury resort, so I guess there is an incentive to keep the rif-raf out. But visitors are allowed to enter this historical village with a guide. If you don’t fancy taking the tour, a hotel stay might be something to remember as it is a one-of-a-kind property. Expect to fork up 800 – 4000€ per night, though.

Sunrise at the European Horseshoe Bend, not far from Rijeka Crnojevica

4. Lake Skadar and The European Horseshoe Bend

I bet you’ve seen photos from Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. Good news is a similar phenomenon exists in Montenegro, although less rocky. The road is narrow but very accessible as it is just a short drive from the M2 highway that connects Podgorica with Cetinje and the coastline. This is the exact location.

Hiking in Lovcen National Park is a wonderful thing to do. The higher up, the more snow if you come in winter. My wonderful Gaston Luga backpack is a great hiking companion. It is the first really elegant backpack I’ve had. Type the discount code GENTONTHELOOSE upon checkout for a 15% discount on Gastoluga.com

5. Lovcen National Park

In summertime – a perfect mountainous landscape to hike. In winter – a darling for local off-pist skiers. Nijegos Mausoleum is a tomb located 2 kilometers above sea level, and it is also one of the most impressive peaks in Europe. You can drive up almost all the way, but the last 400 meters of altitude need to be done by foot. And don’t miss hiking Bobotov Kuk. The views of the valley and the fiord compare to both Norway and Switzerland. 

Avid skiers should take the opportunity to ski in Kolasin in Northern Montenegro. It compares to many of the alpine resorts in Europe but it is significantly cheaper.

The old marina in Tivat – a popular harbor town with gorgeous, sunny climate all year round.

6. Tivat

Tivat is a lovely coastal town with beach access and plenty of harbouring opportunities if you arrive in Montenegro by yacht. Porto Montenegro is a luxury marina under construction. Most of it is finished today and some people refer to it as the new Monaco of the Balkans, although I would wait a couple of years before I make that comparison. It is built and owned by the Rotschild family.

A lovely beach a couple minutes outside of Budva.

7. Budva

Another medieval walled village, but also home for new high-rises. Èze meets Benidorm. While it has its historical charm, it is also the beach town where the most tourists come for the summer holiday and the herds might already be unbearable. Bear in mind though, that it has some really nice properties and you get a lot of bang for your buck in town. We were very satisfied with our stay at the 5-star Hotel Budva which provided excellent room service and had a very spacious rooftop pool. The prices are half of what you would pay in Croatia, and a third of what we’re used to back home. I don’t recommending spending too much time in Budva, but as it is centrally located, it might be a great base. 

What to eat

Montenegro offers a wide range of foods, but as it comes to restaurants, we found dining in our hotel to be the best option, as all restaurants allow indoor smoking. We stayed in Hotel Budva – their food and service was great and we had the pleasure of not walking away with lung cancer.

Quality of service

Outstanding. One of the best in Europe.

Currency

Montenegro uses the Euro, although they aren’t an official member of the Eurozone. We didn’t need cash on our entire stay there, as they accept all kinds of credit cards. We even paid amounts under 1€ by credit card and we always got a smile and full paperwork in return, with the tax receipt and transaction approval slip stapled together. In this case, Montenegro is Utopia for the accountant-turned-traveller.

Getting there

Montenegro is home to two international airports – Tivat and Podgorica. You can also fly in to Dubrovnik, but I’d advice you to pay a slightly more expensive airfare to be able to land in Montenegro, as rental cars and border crossing permits are way cheaper if the car is rented with MNE plates.

Getting around

Rental car. Don’t forget winter tyres (and snow chains for driving up the mountains) if you go in winter. The country is very mountainous which means vast elevation changes. Bring water. Always use headlights, never drive too fast. The traffic police is everywhere! If you don’t have a license, taxis are very cheap.

When to go

We went there in late January, which is a time of year I really recommend for travel to that region if you want to combine a perfect ski trip in the high mountains with a summer holiday down by the beach.

Summer, spring and fall are equally rewarding. The lack of snow in the mountains by then will present a great opportunity for hiking.

Safety

Montenegro is just as safe as any other European country, but it never hurts to flash your valuables moderately.

Score

Betyg50

The salesmen of Marrakech are practicing the art of supply and demand. Expect to pay 1/10-1/5 of the initial offer.

The spices of Morocco in the Souks. Look for this shop, one of few with an owner that is sincere. He will not rip you off.
The spices of Morocco in the Souks. Look for this shop, one of few with an owner that is sincere. He will not rip you off.

After seeing pictures from Marrakech on Instagram, me and my fiancée were very intrigued and decided to go there. But we hadn’t thought of the many scams we would experience.

Don’t get me wrong. If you stay in a Riad, a traditional and somewhat luxurious Moroccan boutique hotel, you get really lovely and honest service, but the moment you step out on the streets, you’re gonna be a walking wallet that hustlers want to rip apart. Traveling in the third world often means being approached by locals trying to get money out from you in a number of creative ways, but Morocco is different. Although it isn’t really the third world anymore, hustlers are everywhere, they are aggressive and most of them seem to think you are walking around with millions.

There are many donkeys in the Medina, and many of these are actual taxis. We tried it but felt bad afterwards as it was a big strain to the animal. Many animal owners are also very negligent and abusive to the donkeys, so I'd recommend not to support the business.
There are many donkeys in the Medina, and many of these are actual taxis. We tried it but felt bad afterwards as it was a big strain to the animal. Many animal owners are also very negligent and abusive to the animals, so I’d recommend not to support the business.

Before we list the scams we experienced – here’s an overview over what things should cost in the souks.

100g of Moroccan spice: 10-20 Dirham
Slippers or shoes: 50-100 Dirham
Pastry: 1 dirham per cake / cookie
Yoghurt / smoothie: 5 dirham
A lamp, lantern: 50-70 Dirham
A scarf in cashmere: 150 Dirham
Another scarf: 50 Dirham
Real argan oil with ”eco-sticker” 100 ml: 150 Dirham
A taxi ride within the Medina: 5-10 Dirham, add another 10 Dirham if you or your hotel have called for the driver
A taxi ride to the airport: 70 Dirham, but you could probably pay less if you speak arabic

The salesmen of Marrakech are practicing the art of supply and demand. Expect to pay 1/10-1/5 of their initial offer, unless there already is a ”prix fix”.

Do not tip! We wanted to buy shoes from a nice gentleman but couldn’t find anything that would fit my fiancée’s Cinderella foot. We felt bad for the guy, so I tipped him 10 Dirham (1 USD) for his effort. He then demanded at least 5 dollars. For nothing.

Beautiful small stores like this one always come with a ridiculous initial offer. The price is always lower. Much lower.
Beautiful small stores like this one always come with a ridiculous initial offer. The price is always lower. Much lower.

Scam group #1 – People who want to take you to places 

”Sorry, square is this way”.

Many youngsters know exactly how to catch the attention of lost tourists who aren’t able to navigate in the small streets of the Medina. Most of them assume you’re going to the big square – Jemma El Fna, so they suggest another way. Best case: they show you to the square by taking a detour to some shops where they get commissions for bringing tourists. Worst case: they take you to a small alley where they ask for a donation. If you don’t pay, some shady dude will appear and make you pay.

”This is closed but another thing is open – only today”

Usually the same type of person approaches you nearby to a tourist attraction, saying it is closed. But he can show you to a market, a tannery, etc. We came across a very trustworthy gentleman next to Bahia Palace, which in fact had just closed. He then wanted to show us to the ”jewish quarter”. ”Only today” it was open for the public. It was more or less on our way, so we let him accompany us. Then he insisted on us going in a small, dark alley, which clearly wasn’t right and that was when we realised he was a fraud. A police officer we talked to later, told us this occurs sometimes and that we would have gotten robbed.

”People come from Atlas Mountain – only today”

This is the ”only today”-scam I love the most. It is totally harmless. But time consuming. Some friendly person who identifies himself as ”Berber” tells you he and his family have ”gone down the mountains” and brought hand-made things and they now are borrowing a shop around the corner. ”Only today! Just look, no buy!” You feel sorry for him, so you tag along. The family is there, but they are there every day. And you feel like an a-hole trying to get out of there not buying anything, so you buy.

”I no guide but I help”

Guides must be registered with the government and if someone wants this how you around, ask for ID. Nobody helps anyone for free in Marrakech.

Riads in Marrakech are wonderful and almost always they can also call for a cab. Then you only pay 10 Dirhams more than the metered fare which is worth it, believe me.
Riads in Marrakech are wonderful and almost always they can also call for a cab. Then you only pay 10 Dirhams more than the metered fare which is worth it, believe me.

Scam group #2 – Taxi drivers

Most of your Marrakech money will go to cab drivers. They are obliged to put the meter on, but they never do. Petit Taxis, that is. Grand Taxis do not have a meter. Having to change Riads in Morocco, we asked 10 different drivers we hailed on the street if they wanted to take us 2 kilometers to the new place with our bags. Their offers ranged all the way from 200 Dirham to 50. I insisted on the meter, showing my 10 fingers and not a penny more. After half an hour, a guy agreed on taking us for 15 Dirham. Shared with a local woman. We had nothing against it. It was a lovely ride and she was very nice. But as we got to our destination, the meter said 6 Dirham and the local woman got out and paid 2. He insisted on still getting 15 from me.

Riding to and from the airport is different. Here you will have to haggle down the price from ridiculous amounts like 500 Dirhams to 70. For a 3 kilometer ride, that is. This makes Marrakech more expensive for taxi per kilometer than Oslo, NYC or Zürich.

Jemaa El Fna, the "big square" and a place for many scammers and hustlers. Be alert!
Jemaa El Fna, the “big square” and a place for many scammers and hustlers. Be alert for sneak-up tattoo women!

The female sneak-up ”tattoo artists”

Usually in the hideous square of Jemma El Fna. Some nice women will sneak up from behind, grab your hand and perform a Henna tattoo without asking you first. Then you need to pay. This happened to us but we waved them off last second. In return we were cursed and they wished us bad sex in the future. We recommend to have your hand in your pocket.

The involuntary photo model

You’re taking a photo and a person is very angry because he ended up in the picture. He now wants money, because you will sell that photograph for millions later. Solution? You take more than one shot and show him one picture that you erase if you have your camera strapped around your neck. If not, don’t bring up any valuables.

The baker / fruit dude

We experienced a ”baker” approaching us with coconut donuts. We said we didn’t have money, but he insisted on us tasting these donuts anyhow. ”Taste, only try, no money, don’t worry, be happy”. I tried saying I was gluten intolerant, but he didn’t mind. Once he forced the donuts in our hands, we had to pay him 25 Dirhams per donut. Bakeries sell these for 0,5 Dirham each. We gave one of the donuts back and gave him 5 Dirham just to get rid of him. 20 minutes later, he approached us and had no idea he had just been talking to us.

As a Swede, I get many questions about what Swedish credit cards to use to maximise your points travel, so here’s everything a Swede needs to know about points travel! In Swedish, this time.

To keep track of all your credit cards, I recommend the fabulous and minimalistic cardholder from Daniel Wellington. I use it as a wallet too, as there’s plenty of room for emergency cash. Order before tomorrow Monday, Feb 27, to receive the card holder for free when you order a watch. And use my code BJORNDW for an additional 15% off.

Dessa svenska kreditkort ger bäst bonuspoäng för resor

Att samla kreditkortspoäng är ett fantastiskt sätt att maximera sitt resande. Varje månad har vi löpande utgifter såsom mat och drivmedel och ibland köper vi kläder eller renoverar hemma. När vi använder vårt kreditkort får vi tillbaka ca 1% i form av poäng att resa för. Om du handlar mat för 1200 kronor varje vecka får du 12 kronor tillbaka i resepoäng. Inte mycket på en vecka, men en fantastisk fin återbäring om man slår ut det på ett år. Dessutom får du gratis reseförsäkringar.

Det absolut viktigaste med poängresor är att ha tålamod och vara långsiktig. Det tar ofta två-tre år att skrapa ihop tillräckligt med poäng till en resa, men när man väl har uppnått sitt mål är det ganska underbart att kunna åka iväg helt gratis. Men det kräver medvetenhet.

  1. Köp aldrig något som du annars inte hade köpt bara för att samla poäng.
  2. Betala alltid fakturan i sin helhet så att du slipper räntan.
  3. Prenumerera på SMS och e-mail från alla poängutgivare så att du kan nappa på tillfällen att få dubbla, trippla eller till och med tiodubbla poäng.
  4. Skippa kontanterna helt.
  5. Om du måste ta ut, var uppmärksam på uttagsavgifter och valutapåslag när du är utomlands.
  6. Logga in regelbundet och se till att använda eller byta dina bonuspoäng innan de förfaller. Oftast sker detta efter 3-5 år.
  7. Håll koll på årsavgift och vad poängen är värda i kronor. Om avgiften chockhöjs och poängen samtidigt devalveras kanske kortet inte är värt att ha kvar.
  8. Håll utkik efter tjänster som kan boosta dina poäng! Exempelvis kan du få poäng värda ca 1000 kronor per år från din elleverantör och ännu högre återbäring om du har hemlarm. Här rekommenderar jag att söka information i varje bonusklubb och prenumerera på information.


Med 70 000 poäng kan du ta dig från Norden till Hawaii med SAS partnerflyg. Betalar du med ditt Amex-kort för över 150 000 på ett år får din partner åka med helt gratis. Detta är min fästmö Marcy på Waikiki beach.

1. SAS Eurobonus – American Express Premium

Kortet har överlägset bäst reseförsäkring av alla kort jag äger. Även poängintjäningen är mycket lukrativ, speciellt om man överstiger 150 000 kronor i transaktioner på ett kalenderår. Då får man resan till halva poängpriset. Alltså tar man med sin partner exempelvis utan extra kostnad till Asien för 2×30 000 poäng istället för 60 000 poäng. Poängen funkar även med SAS Partnerbolag i Star Alliance. Nackdelen är hög årsavgift, att en del butiker fortfarande inte accepterar, eller gnäller extra mycket över Amex, samt att du måste betala flygplatsavgift när du bokar din bonusresa. Ett tips här är att undvika så många mellanlandningar som möjligt.

Årsavgift: 1000 SEK
Valutapåslag: 2%
Poängvärde: 1,5 p / 1 SEK (1,3%-2,8% återbäring)
Extra kostnader vid poängbokning: Flygskatt
Betyg: 4/5
Rekommendation: Köp

Norwegian flyger till New York för ibland så lite som 899 CashPoints för en enkel resa. Spenderar du 10 000 kronor per månad i mat, bensin och andra löpande kostnader har du uppnått en tur-och-returresa efter mindre än två år genom att bara byta kort.

1. Norwegian – Bank Norwegian Visa

Norwegian har det mest rättvisa poängsystemet. När du köper din bonusresa är 1 NOK detsamma som 1 Cashpoint. Och återbäringen är strikt 1%. Handlar du för 1000 SEK, ca 950 NOK, får du 9,5 CashPoints på kontot. Mycket enkelt. Transaktioner för drygt 20 000 SEK ger 200 CashPoints, vilket räcker för en flygning inom Europa, exempelvis till London. Detta kortet ger dig resor snabbast om du spenderar mindre än 150 000 kr per år. Extra pluspoäng för avsaknad av årsavgift och att de även bjuder på flygskatt. En bonusresa är verkligen en gratisresa med Norwegian. Solklar delad förstaplats.

Årsavgift: 0 SEK
Valutapåslag: 1,75%
Poängvärde: 1 p / 1 NOK (0,95% återbäring)
Extra kostnader vid poängbokning: Inga
Betyg: 5/5
Rekommendation: Köp

I Petter Stordalens hemstad finns det många möjligheter att slå ihjäl bra Nordic Choice-poäng med förtjänst. För 7500 poäng finns Comfort-hotellen i centrum och för finsmakaren finns The Thief för 40 000 poäng, en natt som annars kan kosta från 3000-6000 SEK.

3. Nordic Choice Club – Mastercard

Flygpriserna sjunker, men hotellpriserna stiger. Det gör det extra relevant att se sig om efter kreditkort som kan ge bonusnätter istället för bonusflyg. Absolut bäst i kategorin är Nordic Choice Club. Takk, Petter Stordalen! Meget flink. Här bor du gratis från och med 7500 poäng och du får 10 poäng per 100 kronor. Vän av ordning räknar ut att det krävs ett spenderande på 75000 kronor för att bo gratis, men kortet ska snarare ses som ett sätt att nå poäng snabbare om man ändå bor på Choice Hotels då och då, eftersom du direkt får silverstatus. Dessutom 20% extrapoäng per vistelse (10% för silverstatus och 10% som en kortbonus) samt en tillgodokupong på 75 kronor per natt i restaurang och bar. Slår man ihop allt detta är kortet mer intressant än de flesta flygkort. En extra eloge för att de rätt ofta har kampanjer som ger dubbla poäng, inte bara på boende utan även på kortanvändande.

Årsavgift: 200 SEK
Valutapåslag: 2%
Poängvärde: 10 p / 100 SEK (0,7-1,6% återbäring)
Extra kostnader vid poängbokning: Inga
Betyg: 5/5 (om man spenderar minst 2 nätter per år med Choice)
Rekommendation: Köp

När man är i det extremt dyra Island kan det vara bra att slippa valutapåslaget, varför Coop-kortet åker fram. Vi spenderade 10 000 kronor på tre dagar på Island. Tack vare Coop-kortet sparade vi 200 kr i uteblivna valutapåslag.

4. Coop MedMera Mer – Mastercard

Coop har nyligen försämrat sina villkor på en rad punkter, men är fortfarande en smart produkt. Kortet saknar valutapåslag och kontantuttagsavgift. Det sparar dig mycket huvudvärk, och pengar, utomlands. Du får dock bara 0,5% i återbäring och dessutom har de devalverat värdet på sina poäng betydligt. Tidigare kunde du byta 30 000 Coop-poäng mot 5000 Nordic Choice-poäng. Det innebar att om du spenderade 45 000 kronor med kortet, så fick du en gratisnatt hos Nordic Choice. Med den tidigare återbäringen om 1%, var det alltså smartare att använda Coopkortet för Choicenätter än Choice-kortet självt. Men nu är det ändring på saken och Coop-kunden får spendera 120 000 kronor för samma nöje. Likadant är det med byte till Eurobonuspoäng som blivit dyrare via Coop-kortet eftersom återbäringen halverats. Men Coop-kortet är fortfarande intressant om man handlar på Coop, för då är återbäringen hela 2%. Rekommendationen blir därför att endast handla i Coops butiker med kortet och istället använda det utomlands, i bankomat eller vid e-handel som görs i annan valuta än SEK.

Årsavgift: 348 SEK
Poängvärde: 0,5 p / 1 SEK (0,5% återbäring)
Extra kostnader vid poängbokning: Ca 20% faktisk devalvering vid byte till olika resepoäng
Betyg: 3/5
Rekommendation: Behåll

10 dagar på Nya Zeeland? Ja tack. När jag köpte min BMW med Finnair Plus dåvarande Diners Club (japp, det gick, men det krävdes lite tjat på både Diners Club och på bilfirman), räckte det till att byta till sig IHG-poäng som betalde hela vistelsen. Med deras nya Mastercard blir det lite svårare, men ändå ett kort jag väljer att behålla.

5. Finnair Plus – Mastercard

Finnair Plus är ett kort jag endast använder i nödfall. Men ibland ger de dubbla poäng och då kan man plocka fram det ur lådan. Du får endast 10 poäng per 100 kronor och du behöver långt mycket fler bonuspoäng när du ska flyga än på exempelvis SAS. Dessutom har alla Oneworld-bolag mage att råna dig på både flygskatt och bränsleavgift när du bokar bonusresa. Detta kan dock faktiskt ändras med tanke på den hårda konkurrens som finns i branschen varför jag behåller mitt kort. En bra tröst är att man konstant flyger för samma poängpris på en viss sträcka oavsett om man bokar tidigt eller sent. Om en flight som kostar 600 kr har gått upp till 2900 kr, kan det vara smart att nyttja poängen. Och man kan faktiskt byta sina poäng mot hotellpoäng och det värdet är ofta mer lukrativt än besparingen på flygbiljetten.

Årsavgift: 395 SEK
Poängvärde: 10 p / 100 SEK (0,4-0,9% återbäring)
Extra kostnader vid poängbokning: Flygskatt och bränsleavgift, dock lägre än exempelvis British Airways
Betyg: 2/5
Rekommendation: Behåll/avvakta

Jag hade aldrig besökt Seattle om det inte vore för att jag behövde förbruka mina Marginalen-poäng. Resan blev härlig men ingen större besparing, tyvärr.

6. Marginalen Traveller – Mastercard

Marginalen Bank var för 3-4 år sedan en kul uppstickare med generösa poäng på bonusresor, men detta har ändrats. Under 2016 gjordes en omfattande devalvering där en resa till Seattle som tidigare brukade kosta 52 000 poäng plötsligt kostade 96 000. Dessutom ökades både årsavgift och poänginsamling blev ett svårare förehavande eftersom många kampanjer som gav upp till fyrdubbla poäng (exempelvis på internethandel) slopades. I sista sekund bokade jag i alla fall en flight till Seattle innan poängen devalverades, men upplevde till min stora avsmak att Resia (som sköter bokningarna) efter flera upprepade kontakter endast ville föreslå flighter på bolag som inräknade bränsleavgifter i flygskatten. Och i enlighet med villkoren skulle resenären själv betala flygskatt. Flygskatten uppgick till ca 3300 SEK. Hade jag köpt en biljett till Vancouver för vanliga pengar, som ändå var min slutdestination, hade den kostat mig 4400 SEK. Och då hade jag även fått mat på flyget istället för att behöva köpa lunch på Reykjaviks flygplats för 500 spänn. Jag har naturligtvis slängt kortet idag.

Årsavgift: 395 SEK
Poängvärde: 1 p / 1 SEK (0,1-0,7% återbäring)
Extra kostnader vid poängbokning: Bränsleavgift och flygskatt
Betyg: 1/5
Rekommendation: Flyg och släng

Övriga alternativ

Jag har tidigare även haft ett Finnair Diners Club, vilket jag var väldigt nöjd med, men slängt det till förmån för American Express. Till slut blev det tröttsamt med alla ställen som inte accepterade kortet och årsavgiften blev på tok för hög i förhållande till hur ofta det användes.

Man kan även ha kreditkort hos British Airways Avios, och Air Berlin Topbonus men eftersom båda flygbolag är inom Oneworld, känns det onödigt då jag redan har Finnair. Air Berlin har ett något bättre frequent flyer-program, medan British Airways har otroligt dålig återbäringskvot.

Även ICA och diverse bensinstationer har kort med poäng och återbäring. Är inte resor ditt förstahandsalternativ, kanske de även gör sig bra i din plånbok. Det viktigaste är att du inte kör på vanliga kredit- eller debitkort som kommer direkt från din bank. Värdet av det som skulle ha kunnat vara dina poäng hamnar istället hos farbror banken.

We were just looking for some affordable sun, but ended up with an impressive amount of camera clicks.

Have you ever dreamt of going to a place that will give you unforgettable pictures? In an effort to escape the winter, we accidentally stumbled upon Lisbon. We were just looking for some affordable sun, but ended up with somewhat bronzer skin and an impressive amount of clicks on the camera. With this little guide, I hope you too can make the best out of Lisbon on your weekend getaway.

Catching sunrise over Alfama

alfama_web

Miraduoro de Santa Luzia
Take an early morning walk to Alfama. It’s the oldest part of town and it offers some picturesque old houses, churches and castles to shoot accompanied by the morning sun. Lisbon lies far west on the European continent, so the morning rise shouldn’t be too much of a sacrifice as you probably are 1 hour ahead already if you fly in from another European city.

Tram-catching along Route 28 and Elevator Da Bica

Elevator da Bica, north stop (Google Maps: Biblioteca Camoes)
The trams are a must in Lisbon. Route 28 is a tram line that goes through the most architecturally interesting parts of town, with very old tram cars like this one. Chances are you are going to get both good tram and street shots. The more narrow the street is, the better. Elevador da Bica is an uphill tram / cable car that is another great subject to catch.

Catching colorful streets and graffiti in Bairro Alto

bairroalto_web

Bairro Alto (Rua Da Rosa and neighboring alleys)
I’m not a fan of graffiti, but it seems like the locals don’t clean their facades. The graffiti is just there, and it is everywhere. Mostly it’s just pure vandalism, but once in a while there are more original works. If not, looking up is a wonderful idea. The houses have beautiful tile facades and the streets are decorated with cute colorful wraps that are hanging between the buildings for Christmas all the way from mid November to January.

Lovely Christmas decorations by the colorful houses of Bairro Alto in lovely correspondance with my Classic Black Daniel Wellington watch, which I find to be the perfect Christmas present for this year. Want 15% off? Use the code BJORN15 upon checkout on danielwellington.com

Catching the Golden Gate Bridge and the Jesus statue at sunset

Ponte 25 de Abril
Yes, you read that right. Lisbon has both the Golden Gate bridge and the famous big Jesus from Rio de Janeiro. So if your budget doesn’t allow you to see both Brasil and California in one trip, you can just go to Lisbon. The two are conveniently located next to each other, so you can get both attractions in one click. The bridge is also a short drive from another much recommended venue – Belém Tower.

City panorama from Elevador de Santa Justa

Elevador de Santa Justa
There are many Miraduro’s – viewpoints, but my favorite is Elevador de Santa Justa. It’s in the middle of the center and you will get 360 degree views, plus very symmetrical shots of the cityscape.

Stepping out of your comfort zone really makes you see the beauty of Norway

I am a guy that usually never sets for less than 4 stars. I like comfortable rooms and I have never slept in a hostel or a camping, but earlier this year I made bold move. I bought a tent! My family didn’t know how to react. Was I joking? Had I gone crazy?

Camping by an amazing waterfall in the middle of nowhere. Can you spot my fiancée in the photo?

Using allemannsretten – the freedom to roam

Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone and this was my way of doing it. Together with the tent, me and my girlfriend would take our own car and go on a 2-week trip around Norway. Every two nights, we slept in Clarion Collection which definitely is our favorite Scandinavian hotel brand, but the nights inbetween, we promised ourselves to put up the tent by the most amazing sights we could find along the way. What could stop us? Nothing. Putting up a tent in Scandinavia is called allemannsretten – every man’s privilege and your constitutional right, as long as you don’t litter or destroy anything that grows. Just keep out of sight for the land owners and respect their privacy. This phenomenal law allowed us to camp by waterfalls, lakes and with 360 degree views. 

Driving Trollstigen – the troll’s path with our own car – the best one there is!

So what’s the itinerary? 14 days seemed enough for us but for someone who wants to feel like they’re on a holiday as well, I’d suggest at least 20 days. Make sure to pack warm clothing as there might be vast temperature drops. Our best travel accessory was our Sudio Sweden headphones. Sleeping by a waterfall is romantic and amazing, but there will come a time when you want to shut the noise out and listen to something else. Perfect sound quality for hiking and roadtripping. 

Sudio Sweden. Use the code gentontheloose to receive 15 percent off at checkout! Now with free gift packaging and caps to their new Regent headphone collection.
Sudio Sweden. Use the code gentontheloose to receive 15 percent off at checkout on sudiosweden.com! Now with free gift packaging and caps to their new Regent headphone collection.

Driving east to west – Moss to Lysebotn

Starting off in Moss, Norway, a beautiful summer town with a nice climate, we drove west to Stavanger and nearby hiking attractions Preikestolen and Kjeragbolten, the latter which is a rock that is stuck between two other rocks. We spent our first tent night somewhere along the route without any cellphone reception whatsoever. Getting from east to west really reminded us what Norwegian climate is like. While the east side treated us with sunshine and amazing autumn temperatures around 20C, the west only offered 7 C and heavy rain, sometimes mixed with snow. As a result of the never-ending rain-and snowfalls in west Norway for the entire two weeks, we had to abort any attempts of climbing Trolltunga, Preikestolen and Kjeragbolten, but luckily there were plenty of other picturesque sights to conquer. The roads are narrow and definitely a challenge for your patience, but every bit of it is simply gorgeous.

Stalheim Hotell – a magnificent viewpoint!
Stalheim Hotell – a magnificent viewpoint!

The fjords between Stavanger and Bergen

We loved exploring the cities of Stavanger and Bergen, but stumbled upon true magic in Gudvangen and Flåm. Quiet, mystic and simply gorgeous. Both towns lie by Nærøyfjorden, which is the most narrow fjord in the world. As a result of this, the place is packed with tourists almost any time of year. But as almost everyone comes in with cruise ships, it still gives you a lot of freedom to explore the sights if you go by yourself, not with the tour buses. Don’t miss the views from Aurlandsfjellet and Stalheim Hotell.

Geiranger, as seen from our camping spot!

Geiranger and Trollstigen

Another impressive sight is Geiranger, where you will experience driving Trollstigen, the troll’s path! The serpentine roads, the waterfalls and the often very moody skies makes this a mystic paradise to explore. Geiranger is also one of the towns that are totally dependent of cruise ship tourists, so make sure to take a camping spot if you see one. The overflow of tourists makes even the every man’s privilege a hustle.

Ålesund - the Venice of the North!
Ålesund – the Venice of the North!

Ålesund – the Venice of the North

Lovers of Art Nouveau will remember Ålesund as the highlight of the trip. They don’t call it the Venice of the North for nothing. Our Clarion Collection hotel offered us a complimentary fishing rod upon check-in, if we would ever crave to catch our own fish for dinner through our window. That’s so Ålesund!

Atlanterhavsveien – a simply gorgeous Atlantic getaway!
Atlanterhavsveien – a simply gorgeous Atlantic getaway!

From west to East Atlantic Highway – Trondheim – Oslo

Through the Atlantic Highway, Atlanterhavsveien, we connected to Trondheim. The route is a fascinating drive and a must when in the area. Trondheim, a lovely and colorful town was also our last stop before heading back to Oslo.

The colorful city of Trondheim!
The colorful city of Trondheim!

The weather was so much more pleasant, with 25 degrees in september! After having spent 2 weeks in rain and an average temperature of 6 degrees, we thought getting a tan would be impossible, but we were so wrong. We enjoyed beach life on Bygdøy and chilled by Aker Brygge.

Sunset by Aker Brygge, Oslo
Sunset by Aker Brygge, Oslo

Even though we prioritized tanning this time, Oslo is a magnificent city with many impressive museums and cultural sights – a perfect way to round up a Norway visit if you fly out of Gardemoen. This time we didn’t have to take a flight. We just hit the evening traffic and were home in Sweden by sunset.

A trip together with your loved one is a great way to grow and to create beautiful memories together.

I used to be a solo traveler and I loved it. Then I met my girlfriend and I discovered that I love traveling with her even more than I loved traveling solo. I think it has something to do with being in love with your best friend. So I have been fascinated about other travel couples, how they do it and a favourite couple of mine is Alexander Waltner (swedishnomad.com / @swedishnomad) and Christine Wedberg (alienchris.com / @alienchrisblog) from Sweden who have mesmerised me a long time with their beautiful shots from their journeys from around the world.

I’m catching up with Alexander and Christine to see how they reason about traveling as a couple and doing it for a living – a highly inspiring discussion that really shows the passion and generosity of these two. Thanks so much guys!

elefantparken-swedish-nomad-and-alien-chris
Christine Wedberg & Alexander Waltner making friends with an awesome elephant!

Where are you right now and how are you doing?

We have some vacay in Sweden before our next adventure to New York, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba.

How did you guys meet?

We actually met at the beach on Rhodes in Greece. Both of us worked on the Scandinavian bar street, and it was love at first sight. This was back in 2012, and we have been a couple since 2013. 

Where was the first destination you went together?

Budapest was our first destination, I, Alex, had been there before since my grandfather is from Hungary and I love it there, so, of course, I had to take my love to one of my favorite cities. Since then we have been back three times and we just love it, good food, cheap accommodation, great sightseeing, friendly locals and a nice city vibe. 

christine-wedberg
Photo: Alexander Waltner, swedishnomad.com

How do you find traveling together as a couple differs from traveling solo?

Alexander: Well, it makes things a little easier when planning, at least if you want and like the same things as we do. It’s very rare that we don’t feel like doing the same thing. I also like the fact that you can get better accommodation and split the costs. While it can be fun to live at hostels and meet other travelers, it will not allow you to work properly. So it’s great to be able to rent nicer apartments where you can feel at home while on the road.

The downside is that you feel safe with your partner and won’t explore and challenge yourself as much as you would’ve when traveling solo. The downside is also one of the positive aspects of traveling as a couple. You are never alone if you don’t want to, and you always have someone you can trust and have your back.

Christine: Traveling together with someone you love is one of the most awesome things you can do. Sure, traveling solo can be very inspiring, fun and much freer – but a trip together with your loved one is a great way to grow and to create beautiful memories together. 

If you are a couple and like to do different things, then solo traveling probably will be a better option. But, if you’re like Alex and me and like to do the same things, then traveling together is great!

You never get bored, since you’ve always got someone there to make you laugh, and you have an extra thinking mind in stressful situations. It’s also more economical, you always have someone to keep an extra eye on your belongings, and the best part – home is where the heart is, so you will never feel too far away from home.

swedish-nomad
Photo: Christine Wedberg, alienchris.com

Since you’re both full-time travel bloggers – Alexander is also the brain behind the Swedish travel website destinavo.com – how would you describe it is running a family business in travel?

It’s so much fun to share this passion, and we always inspire each other to write about new subjects. It’s also great because you can get a second perspective and proofread before publishing.

How is the planning procedure? Who picks where to go?

Well, we both pick where to go, but it’s not so much about picking, it’s more about the cheapest and most fun route available, and we choose together. We spend maybe a day on planning our next adventure and split the tasks like this; one will look for cheap flights, bus tickets and so on and come up with a fun route.

If we got some spare time, it’s not uncommon to showcase the route with a fun power point presentation on the tv-screen.

When we have chosen which route to take, the other will look for accommodation.

alien-chris
Photo: Alexander Waltner, swedishnomad.com

Tell us about your future travels and why you’ve chosen to go there.

The remainder of this year we’re going to New York, Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Alexander: Well, New York is a city that everyone should visit, but what I’m looking forward to the most are Mexico and Cuba. I have a great interest in history, so a visit to the world wonder Chichen Itza is something that I have wanted to do for a long time.

The same goes for Cuba; I love different cultures, and this is the last chance to visit before the American tourists will take over. Puerto Rico seems amazing as well with the old San Juan and Cueva Ventana. 

Christine: My biggest reason why I want to travel to New York is that my two older sisters live there, so I want to hang out with them as much as possible and, of course, explore the city!

When I think of Mexico, I imagine wild sea turtles, paradise beaches and super delicious Mexican food – I’m dying to eat tacos, burritos and fajitas! From what it seems, Mexico has plenty of beautiful beaches and lovely nature to explore – so that’s going to be awesome! Besides me eating a lot of Mexican food and splashing around in the turquoise water, I’m also looking forward to visiting the world-famous Chichen Itza!

Last but not least: Cuba and Puerto Rico has always been a big bucket list for me since I adore the nature of Puerto Rico and heard so many good things about Cuba!

Tell us about an unforgettable moment that you’ve encountered throughout your previous travels.

Alexander: Well let’s say, be sure that you order chicken filet when you order chicken in Vietnam. One unforgettable moment is when we were at Phu Quoc Island and stayed in the local village of Duong Dong.

At this point, we had been in Vietnam for several weeks and just wanted a normal dish with no surprises. In the local area of Duong Dong it’s quite hard to find a place where they speak English, so we didn’t know what we ordered.

Anyhow this particular night we found a place where they spoke a little English, and the waiter explained that the dish we were looking at in the text menu, in Vietnamese, was chicken, so we ordered two plates (yay, finally some plain chicken breast), at least that’s what we thought.

But not this time, when the plates arrived we both looked at each other and didn’t know whether we should cry or laugh or what to do. The chicken we ordered was not some ordinary chicken, on our plates we were looking at chicken feet, yes, feet of a chicken.

This is definitely something that we won’t forget about for a long time.

Christine: Well, there is actually one moment of our trip in India that I’ll never forget. It was during our 4-hour train ride from Agra to Jaipur. When the train left the train station in Agra, we started to see something we’ve never seen before. 

People, men, women, children and whole families pooping together along the railroad.

We saw another one, another family and also a couple of brothers doing their morning routines together. I mean, when you sit on a train for 4 hours you have to look out the window not to get bored. So what did we do? We counted them! And guess how many people we saw pooping along the railroad from Agra to Jaipur within 4 hours? 72 people!

So if you ever decide to walk along a railroad in India – keep your eyes on the ground, so you don’t see yourself stepping into a fresh pile of crap. 

swedishnomad
Photo: Christine Wedberg, alienchris.com

What have these travels taught you?

Alexander: The world is way smaller than you think, and people are not so different after all. Another important thing, don’t stress. There’s so much to explore out there, but there’s no point to explore it in a hurry, you will just be disappointed and not feel like you’ve experienced that place enough. 

Christine: My travels have taught me to appreciate the small things in life and not to be happy by buying things. Before I started to travel the world I wanted to have expensive bags, go on luxury vacations and have a fancy life. That’s not what I dream about today. 

By seeing families and people living on the street beeing twice as happy, and that made me appreciate what I have and the great life that I have lived. 

My travels have also taught me more about animal cruelty since I’ve seen it happen in real life. It has gotten me motivated to try and put a stop to animal cruelty by teaching others about why it’s wrong.

What would you recommend?

Alexander:  Just go, the adventure awaits. No matter if you’re a couple or traveling solo if you want to travel, do it. If you don’t have the money? Prioritize and save, don’t waste your money on things you won’t remember in a year from now.

Start spending money on things that you will remember and cherish for the rest of your life. And also, don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path, most places around the world have Wi-Fi nowadays, and most people are friendly, no matter where you go, at least if you’re friendly and bring a smile.

If you’re a traveler today, start traveling responsibly. It’s so important, both when it comes to animals and nature, but also towards the locals. We are all one in this world, and we need to start acting that way.

As a traveler, we can do our best to not leave any trash behind or encouraging bad habits and activities. 

Christine: Travel light. To travel with only one light carry-on or a small backpack is the best way to travel. During your trip, you will realize how many things and clothes that you wished that you would’ve left home. 

I got this advice before my backpacking trip in Asia, and I decided to travel with a 30-liter backpack. That’s pretty light if you compare to the most travelers traveling with 50-70 liter backpacks for only 2-3 months. During my six month trip in Asia, I could’ve easily brought half of the stuff I had with me – which would’ve saved me from the pain in my shoulders and money/time by only traveling with a hand luggage. 

And also, Japan & South Korea are awesome! 

Have you ever dreamt of seeing New Zealand, but decided not to go, since you simply didn’t have ”enough time” to see it all?

Truth is, you don’t need to be a teenager with a one-year working-holiday-visa to see the beauty of the islands. All you need is to have a driver’s license and 10 days to spare. But make sure you leave your lazy bone companions at home.

Day 1-4 Glenorchy -> Queenstown -> Oamaru -> Christchurch

Driving northeast, don’t forget to stop by Lake Wanaka, if you want to have an real-life encounter with the most photographed tree in the world – the Wanaka tree.

Most international flights take you to Auckland, so hop on the next domestic flight to Queenstown. The southwesternmost city on the South Island offers beautiful natural scenery with picturesque mountains, fiords and of course that Wanaka tree.

Start by renting a car (or camper) at Queenstown airport. It will give you the absolute freedom to see the mystery of the landscape as you please. Glenorchy is a small village just northwest of Queenstown, most known from certain scenes from Lord of the Rings, but also a great destination for adventurous souls, as kayaking, jet boating and skydiving is offered in the most beautiful surroundings.

The east coast of the South Island does not offer as magic scenery as Glenorchy and Wanaka, but it is definitely worth experiencing, especially if you’re a fan of penguins! Oamaru has two beautiful penguin colonies, the small Blue Penguins located the harbor and their big, Yellow-Eyed relatives on nearby Katiki Point.

Having seen one of the most beautiful sceneries on the planet, arriving in Christchurch at the end of this South Island adventure will give you quit the chock. The city was totally devastated in an earthquake, and is still a ghost town. However, it’s a convenient way of island-hopping as it offers plenty of connections to the North Island. Plus, it’s an easy town to drop off a one-way rental.

Day 4-5 Wellington

Here I am, holding my Daniel Wellington in Wellington while waiting for the cable car. Wearing that watch in Wellington was a perfect combination as it is both elegant and easy – just like the destination. If you want to be a proud owner of a watch, use the discount code BJORN15 on danielwellington.com. This will guarantee 15% off your entire purchase and free shipping worldwide. The discount code works through all of June.

Wellington is probably the antithesis to Chistchurch. It’s a compact capital with a certain English feel to it. It’s extremely convenient as the city center is extremely compact and walkable. The cable car will take you to all levels of the city, so don’t miss this charming opportunity to learn more about the city and it’s history. If you’re interested in the latter, don’t miss Te Papa, an impressive museum complex offering exhibitions on all kinds of topics, everything from earthquakes to Maori culture.

Day 6-8 Rotorua -> Hobbiton

An amazing erupting geyser in Rotorua, New Zealand.

Depending on your budget, there are several ways of getting around the north island. If you value your time, a smart idea would be to fly directly from Wellington to Rotorua and rent your car there to get around the area. A cheaper option is however another one-way rental, this time from Wellington to Auckland. The benefit? Even more beautiful sights on the way.

The living Maori vilage of Whakarewarewa, Rotorua.

Rotorua is a fascinating place, centrally located on the North Island. The entire village is built over hot springs and there is an incredible geothermal activity all over the village. It is also an amazing place to get familiar with the indigenous peoples of New Zealand as the Maori who still live around the hot springs invite you around their villages. You will learn about Maori history, see amazing cultural performances and also get to know how it is to live in a place where you can take a nice 40C bath and boil your vegetables in your garden.

Kerosene Creek, over 30C in the water, all year long!

Don’t miss the opportunity to have a bath in a hot spring yourself. Kerosene Creek offers year-round bathing just minutes south of Rotorua. You will get there by taking a left to an extremely unpaved road with giant holes. But it’s worth it.

Hobbiton Movie Set, an unbelievable experience for everybody!

Between Rotorua and Auckland, you will find another fascinating place. Hobbiton! Famous for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, this spectacular movie set will intrigue everyone, even somebody like myself that hasn’t seen the original movie. Get to know how you would live, had you been a Hobbit!

Day 9-10 Auckland

If you ever get the chance to visit Auckland on Anzac Day, do it! It’s a great opportunity to get familiar with New Zealand’s history, heritage and culture. Here is the 100th Anzac Day celebration on the Domain.

Auckland, the biggest city of New Zealand and the only true metropolis of the country. Extremely easy and convenient, don’t miss to stroll around the Domain, Auckland Harbour, Cornwall park or why not take the lift to the Sky Tower on a sunshiny day?

Me like an amateur traveler posing alongside a Kea, a favorite New Zealand bird of mine.

New Zealand is home to many amazing species. If you weren’t able to see native birds on the island on your 10 day stay – such as Emu’s, Kiwi’s or Kea’s – a stop by Auckland Zoo is a golden opportunity to catch up with all of the above and maybe squeeze in a really touristy selfie.