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Feb 1st 2010 2:15PM Some great ideas that add more options for travelers in Europe. We've stayed in hostels in Portugal, convents in Italy, and camped in Slovenia, for starters.
We're big on getting the most out of our limited budget when we travel, and we've found that traveling in Europe is often cheaper for us than traveling here in the U.S. - even after we throw in airfare. Europe tends to have many more original, small, and reasonably priced places to stay.
Another accommodation resource for travelers looking beyond traditional hotels is our own website, http://www.darngooddigs.com. Budget-minded travelers nominate their all-time favorite independently owned places to stay, and we publish the best of the best on Darn Good Digs. We now have reviews for hotels, guest houses, and b and b's in 15 European countries. It's true we're a bit biased, but we think it's a great way to learn about often hard-to-find cool places to stay!
Dec 9th 2009 9:27PM We had a wonderful time in Panama back in 2003 when we visited. The canal is highly cool, the islands of Bocas del Toro are spectacular, the rafting near Boquete was fantastic.... We weren't overwhelmed by tourists all around. When we got bumped from our flight and had to stay an extra day, we were thrilled.
We stayed at a cool little b&b on the road to Bocas with its own hiking trails in the cloud forest. You can read about it here: http://www.darngooddigs.com/fincalasuiza.html.
Nov 25th 2009 11:29AM PublicEarth definitely looks like a cool site, and I did a quick search for my neighborhood in Brooklyn and found some places I had never heard of and might want to check out.
At the same time, I still think there's a place for human edited and vetted websites that share "hidden gems". I sometimes find so much content ovewhelming, and I can imagine that a site like PublicEarth, still in its infancy, might eventually have so much content that it becomes almost useless. In other words, when there are 1000 restaurants listed in my nieghborhood, it's really no different than a phonebook.
An alternative to this model, which I admit is extremely time intensive, is our website, http://www.darngooddigs.com. Like PublicEarth, travelers suggest their favorite places - in our case, they are small hotels, b&b's, and hostels with rooms under US$150, but unlike PublicEarth, we actually research each suggestion, and only choose the best to feature on Darn Good Digs. We will never have 5 million listings, because the process is simply too time consuming, but that's not we want either. We're going for quality at the expense of quantity.
I think PublicEarth seems really cool, but in order for me to bookmark it there will need to be some way for the best content to rise to the top.
Feb 23rd 2009 9:52PM Spending a lot of money doesn't necessarily mean you get a better vacation experience. I think that's a myth. At our site we highlight travelers' all-time favorite places to stay that have rooms under US$150 - if you're anywhere near Malawi, the price goes down to $3. All the reviews are direct from travelers - they aren't paid ads. Here's the link, http://www.darngooddigs.com, if you want to check it out.