A not so unusual exchange. Experiencing traveling in a different way

Not sure how many of you tried this while traveling, but we love to exchange places with others and take care of their business (be it a small resort, a guest house or a hostel) while they go on vacation!

We’ve done this twice in our life as full-time travelers, last year in the Philippines at Duli Beach Resort for 2 months, and now in Timisoara, at Hostel Costel. The couple that owns the place took a 5-week vacation to explore Thailand and Laos, while we babysit their hostel.

Our time in Timisoara

We love it! It’s the perfect chance to see more of our own country, which up until now has been covered in a bit of fog in our minds, and to experience life in a city smaller than the crowded Bucharest, but lively enough to keep us entertained.

For us, hostel life at Hostel Costel is exciting, fun and relaxing at the same time. Having a certain vibe, somehow this place attracts really cool people. The people you want to hang out and share stories with. From 72-year-old bikers riding around the country all the way from England to young and crazy hitchhikers! If you ever visit Timisoara, pay a visit to this place! Be part of the vibe!

We hang out with a lot of cool people, make new friends, explore around a little and take the time to fall in love with this part of our country!

Also, here is a video Alex made about spring in Timisoara!

Their experience in Laos

by Spiri, owner of Hostel Costel

It’s not unusual to sit at your job and read a story of someone traveling the world. And you instantly wish to be in his place. It gets unusual when not only you get where you dreamed of, but that person you were reading is now is in your place doing your job!

It’s a whole different thing when you really switch places like this. We just met a couple of times and spoke online a few times. But ever since we changed places it feels like we know each other better every day. We live their experience and they live out ours.

Pai was quite the hippie village. We stayed in some retreated bungalows and rented a scooter and went to Lod Cave. Simona & Alex had some injuries after falling with the scooter, so that made us more than careful not to get injured and spoil the fun!

Just like them, we went to Huay Xai in Laos and then north to Luang Namtha. We actually stayed at the same guesthouse as they did, as apparently, Manichan is the best tourists hub. Really nice lady who spoke good English and was friendly enough to help us with everything.

After Luang Namtha, we took 2 buses to Pakbeng (which is actually pretty nice), one boat on the Mekong and probably double the amount of tuk-tuk’s to get to Luang Prabang. Every bus station and every port is at least 10 km to the city – so you need a tuk-tuk. Bargain for 5 minutes and you’re off for your guesthouse…

We just got in Luang Prabang and had an awful first meal. It’s the first time someone fails to cook the rice in Asia! But we washed it with Lao Lao and a couple of beers and went to sleep. Can’t wait to experience more of Laos! Coming soon…


Whoa! I had never heard of this kind of swap before, but how cool! Is it daunting taking over a business? Like, how much training do you get before the owners leave to take your place?

Loved your video of Timisoara, too. The hostel looks like a super fun place!


We already have some knowledge about administrating a travel related business, but always a day or 2 of training is necessary. Because we are not taking over like is ours, we still have to understand and respect the owner’s way of doing things.
For us is really fun and interesting. We get to learn all kind of hacks from people who already have successful accommodation places.


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