Backpacking

Best Places for Hiking and Camping in Europe

We all love Europe. Don’t we? It is a beautiful continent, and we all have considered going there once in our life. Apart from sightseeing, it has many compelling places to hike and camp. Camping in Europe, paired with hiking, can turn into the most amazing trip.

You will need backpacking tent, backpacking packs, sleeping pads, hiking boots, etc. and other equipments to make your traveling to these trains a worth-visiting experience.

So, guys get your backpacks and boots on, let’s go on a journey and find out some of the best hiking and camping spots in Europe.

 

Best Hiking places in Europe

Tour Du Mont Blanc

It is one of the best hiking trails in Europe. Mount Blanc, the highest mountain of European Union, has splendid valleys which extend to France, Switzerland, and Italy. The length of this trail is 110 miles. It will take a total of 11 days to complete the route. Perplexed about which things to hands-on when hiking?

 

Kungsleden

Kungsleden, also known as The King’s Trail, is a 270 miles route. It is located in the north of Sweden. It is a journey of hiking trail in summers and ski trail in winters. It features glaciers, forest, and river and is a sight to hold. Most people do a section of trail as it is divided into four and not possible to cover all the sections.

 

GR20

GR20 is considered as one of the most difficult GR. It is approximately 112 miles that cross Corsica diagonally from north to south. It can be done without using ant hiking gears, but after that, you will be rewarded by its exceptional beauty. It can be walked in 15 days.

 

Laugavegur

Laugavegur is also known by the name ’Hot Spring Route’ and extends up to 34 miles in Iceland. It is beautiful landscape you would come across plenty of huts which only adds to its beauty. This trail features active volcanoes, glaciers and green valleys. It will take 2-4 days to complete the whole hike.

 

West Highland Way

The towns, Milngavie and Fort William, are connected by this 96 miles long route called West Highland Way which is the most popular hiking route in Scotland. This trail offers the most spectacular sceneries you will ever come across. It will take 6-8 days to complete.

 

Best Camping Places In Europe

Weichselbrunn campgrounds

This place is ranked one of the best camping sites in Europe and is located amongst lakeside. It is in Germany.  It is a beautiful camping site and has spectacular scenery. You can go fishing, hiking, swimming, etc. here.

 

Half Island river camp

It is located on the edge of the river Buna and is just a few kilometers from one of the largest and beautiful cities of Europe, Buna. Here, you can also go on hiking and do fishing. You won’t be disappointed by this place if you are a lover of trees and rivers.

 

Son Bou Menorca Camping

This place is located in Spain. This is a luxurious camping site (glamping) which includes a playground, pool and tennis court. It is located between a pine tree forest and an island. You can have an option of tent camping or hiring cabins. This also includes hiking, bicycling, surfing, water skiing, etc. These are a few activities, but this place provides much more.

 

Valle Santa Maria Camping

If you want to go camping alongside the white beaches of Italy, then you should definitely check this place out. Here you can do many fun-filled activities like swimming, sunbathing, hiking, etc. Spending an evening along the splendid beaches with your loved one, who doesn’t want that? Right?

 

Forest Days

This campsite has four fully-furnished tents which are raised on wooden platforms. It is located in Spain. This is a glamping site, and all four tents are separated from one another to give one a secluded area. It is a beautiful site to withhold.          

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Understanding InterRail and Eurail Passes

I have just finished my first ever InterRail trip, which was a 22-day trip with an InterRail Flexi Global Pass.

At first, I was confused because it seemed complex and difficult to understand.  However, like with everything in life, experience changed that and I got used to using it very quickly.
 
When looking at train travel in Europe the common questions that pop up include 'should I buy a Eurail pass?' or 'should I buy a InterRail pass?', 'Is a Eurail pass worth it?', 'What are the best ways to get cheap train tickets in Europe?' etc. It's a complicated process to deal with if you're not familiar with train travel within europe.
 
We're here to help clear up the world of Euro train passes.

Understanding InterRail and Eurail Passes

What is the difference between an InterRail and Eurail Pass?

The only difference is that InterRail Passes are for Europeans and Eurail passes are for non-Europeans but it is important to select correctly.  You are not eligible for a Eurail Pass if you are a European resident nor are you eligible for an InterRail Pass if you do not reside in Europe.
 

Which pass should you choose?

There are a variety of passes and options available so it really depends on how you like to travel, your aims for the trip, your budget (not only for purchasing the pass but also for the trip), and the length of time you have for the trip.  

One Country Pass

This is available for both InterRail and Eurail.  As the name suggests, it covers travel around one country, with the exception of Benelux which covers travel in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
 

Global Pass

This is also available for both InterRail and Eurail.   With an InterRail Global Pass, you can explore up to 30 countries and with a Eurail Global Pass, you can explore up to 24 countries.  This type of pass is good if you want to be free to explore lots of countries during your trip.

There are two types of Global Passes: Consecutive and Flexible.  
If you have a consecutive pass, you can travel every single day for as long as the pass is valid.  If you have a flexible pass, you can travel for a set number of days for the length of the pass, for example 10 travel days in a 22-day period.  It is up to you to decide on how many travel days you think you will require.    

Getting the consecutive pass is good if you want the option of travelling every day. I met a couple who did just that.  If you would prefer to stay in one place for a couple of days or longer, as I often did, you might find a flexible pass suits your needs better.

For InterRail, passes can be valid for up to a month and for Eurail, three months. 
 

Additional Eurail Passes

There are two additional options for those who are eligible for Eurail: Select Pass and Regional Pass.  The Select Pass will enable you to travel around 3, 4, or 5 bordering European countries and the Regional Pass, which is classified as usually consisting of 2 bordering countries.

Should you buy a First or Second Class Pass?

This is really down to you.  I had a first class pass, which meant I could sit in first or second class.  This is useful if you haven't made a reservation and first class is full, which does happen, because you might be lucky and find a seat in one of the second class carriages.  If you have a second class ticket, you can only sit in second class.  The ticket inspectors will insist you move if you have a second class pass but are in a first class carriage.  I witnessed that a few times. 

First class carriages tend to be more comfortable but the facilities and comfort of European trains varies widely.  Some have individual seats, working air conditioning, free WiFi access, power sockets, and waitress service.
 

Before you go

You need to decide where and when to begin your trip.  You don't have to plan your trip to the nth degree but it is worth thinking about this.  Your pass will begin on (is valid from) the date you state when you buy the pass.  It is important to get this right because your pass will expire so many days or months after the ‘valid from’ date, depending on which pass you opted for.  There will be an expiry date on the pass so you won't be able to use it after that date.  

The pass can be used on trains, certain buses, and ferries, either free of charge or for a reduced amount so it's worth reading up about the benefits of having the pass in various countries as well as the conditions of travel.  There may be times when you will have to reserve and pay for a seat/couchette/bed.  I had to reserve seats on the trains I used in France, some in Italy, and the two night trains I was on.
 

Using it in practice

Before getting on your chosen mode of transport with your pass, it's important to know whether you have to reserve and pay a reservation fee.  If so, you will have an allocated seat/couchette/bed.  If not, you can just get on the train or bus and find a spare seat.  You are not guaranteed a seat if you don't have a reservation, which means you might not have a seat on a busy train.  It is worth being aware of that because I witnessed that on two occasions during my 22 days.  It's worth noting that in Germany, you can't reserve first class seats, only second class.
 
 
As soon as you get on whichever mode of transport you are using, fill in the pass.  There are two parts to complete.  
 
Firstly, whenever you travel, you need to write the date on the pass itself.  Once you have done that, you can travel on as many trains, buses, ferries that are included in the pass as you like.  My personal best during this trip was 6 train journeys in one travel day (the last being a night train).  
 
Secondly, you need to record each of these journeys on the piece of paper attached to your pass, entitled 'Journey details'.   A ticket inspector checked and stamped my pass on almost every journey I made so it is important to complete it for each journey.  I always filled mine in as soon as I got on the train or bus.  I never completed it in advance, just in case I didn't catch the train or bus.  Whether you complete it before or as soon as you get on the train, bus, or ferry you need to make sure you have a pen handy.  
 

Keep your pass safe because you will need it for each trip you take.
 
Depending on the journey, you might have to give the pass to the ticket inspector.  I had to do this on a night train from Zurich to Zagreb because we were crossing three countries' borders.  I wasn't keen on doing so but everyone on the train had to relinquish their tickets until they were due to alight the train.  That is the only time I had to do that.
 

Conclusion

In practice, the InterRail Global Pass turned out to be a lot easier than I thought it would be. It gave me a lot of flexibility because I was able to hop on and off trains and buses in most of the places I visited.  I changed where I was going at the last minute on more than one occasion and got on trains and buses at the last minute because I didn't have to buy a ticket.  I only wish the travel period was longer, like the Eurail Passes, so I could have stopped for longer in some of the places I visited.
 
 
For more information about the different types of passes available and what each one offers and the conditions, please check out ACP Rail International.

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7 Top Secrets About Barcelona

Psst… Do you want in on a little secret?

Good, because some of the most interesting places in Barcelona are often not cited in typical travel guides and like many cities it has a few hidden hush-hush aspects that need to come out.

We have compiled a list of undercover facts and off-the-tourist-trail attractions that may just turn your city break into the trip of a lifetime! We know all the hidden secrets of Barcelona!

 

7 Top Hidden Secrets of Barcelona 

1. Sunday is free museum day

If museums are your thing you may want to listen up! Rumor has it that Sunday is the perfect day for your brain to be stimulated and your wallet to remain in your pocket. Several of Barcelona’s top museums and galleries offer free entry on Sunday afternoon after 15:00.

These include the CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona), MUHBA (Museu d’Història de Barcelona), and Museu Frederic Marès. Other museums are also free all day on the first Sunday of the month. These include the Picasso Museum and the MNAC (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya).

If you can't make it on a Sunday, then make sure to get your museum 'skip the line' pass before making your way to the museums.

 

2. Refugio 307: A different world

In 1937, after Franco’s army bombed Barcelona, shelters were set up in both basements and metro stations. Refugio 307 is one of the better examples of the many shelters built and simultaneously commemorates life and death during the tragic attack.

Refugio 307 now lies at the bottom of Museu d’Historia de la Ciutat. The display of living conditions, toilets, a drinking fountain and the infirmary may be difficult to take in, but it is an interesting example of people’s effort to survive in the face of misfortune.

Address: Nou de La Rambla, 175

 

3. Move over milkshakes…

As secrets go, there is always one that at first glance seems particularly strange, but is completely worth the experience. For Spain, this comes in the form of the milky-looking drink horchata, a unique concoction made from chufas (tigernuts) water and sugar, all topped with cinnamon.

This acquired taste may live somewhat in the shadow of sangria, but it is certainly better for your health, as it contains high levels of iron and potassium, is very low in fat content, and is valued for its minerals and vitamins.

 

4. Get lost!

The winding streets of the Old Town of Barcelona have so much more to offer than the occasional authentic tapas bar. These medieval, off-the-grid alleys are home to ancient Roman walls, the oldest synagogue in Europe, a shoe shop visited by the likes of Catherine Zeta Jones, a candle-maker’s that’s been around since the 1700s… Interest piqued yet? Getting ‘lost’ in the labyrinthine Gothic Quarter will certainly make for some unforgettable discoveries.

 

5. Chocolate and Churros

Now it may not be a big secret that the classic, long sugar doughnuts known as churros served as a Spanish indulgence and are best appreciated during the colder months of the year. But what you may not know are the best places in which to partake in the hot chocolate and churros ritual.

Some of our favourite spots are la Nena in Gràcia (C/ Ramón y Cajals 36), Churrería Layetana (Via Laietana 46), and Granja Dulcinea (C/ Petrixol 2) the last one being one of the oldest spots to enjoy the treats in Barcelona. And boy do they have it down to an art…

For even more chocolate adoration, get a ticket to the chocolate museum.

 

6. Barça Tickets

Are you frantically searching the Internet for seats to the upcoming FC Barcelona home game but can’t seem to find any available? Allow us to let you in on a little secret, check out www.fcbarcelona.com where season holders release their tickets closer to the actual date rather than months in advance. You’re welcome! You can also buy several tickets for other Barcelona attractions online before you go - this could save you both money and time!

 

7. Monasterio de Pedralbes

This 14th century Gothic-style monastery allows you to take a step back and appreciate religious art and relics in Barcelona. A sight well off the beaten track but definitely worth seeing, this is one for those looking for something to fill a warm spring afternoon, without the hustle and bustle of Las Ramblas.

The cloister has three floors with a gorgeous garden view of palms and the renaissance fountain in the serenity of the courtyard. You won’t find a more serene place in all of Barcelona.

Address: Baixada del Monestir, 9

 

If you want to learn more check out the fun online language learning tool from Babbel (you can try the first lesson for free!).

Tip: book your accommodation in Barcelona in advance as hotels can full up quickly, particularly during high season! Read our Barcelona Accommodation Guide if you're looking for somewhere to stay while in Barcelona! We've also covered the top things to do in our Barcelona Activity Guide.

 

EXTRA: Do not forget a good travel insurance before you go. Check out the offerings from both World Nomads and SafetyWing.

 

Travel tip shared by ApartmentBarcelona
www.apartmentbarcelona.com

 

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Tips and Advice for Purchasing Travel Insurance

A wise decision before embarking on any trip is to obtain travel insurance.

The documents and details of an insurance plan often includes exceptionally detailed legal jargon, and it can be a nightmare to interpret.

We’ve taken the liberty of explaining the major coverages to help guide travelers in selecting which options are necessary for your specific trip.

Tips for buying travel insurance

Trip Cancellation/Interruption

This is the most basic coverage and covers most events that would result in you not being able to take your trip.

Examples include but are not limited to: Sickness, Injury, Job Change, and Financial Distress (bankruptcy) to either yourself or any of your travel companions. A good policy may also cover Delays, Terrorism, Political Change, Supplier Cancellations and Natural Disasters.

 

Single Occupancy Coverage

If you have arranged for double occupancy accommodation and your partner cancels or has to change their plans, you can get the required “upgrade” covered by insurance.

 

Trip Delay / Missed Connection

Any delay that is out of your control can entitle you to compensation.

 

Legal Assistance

This coverage can provide access to local legal experts in the event you get caught in any legal misunderstandings.

 

Accident / Medical Expense

Any procedures or treatment performed during your trip or potentially as a direct result of an event that occurs on your trip. This segment of coverage can sometimes include a minor amount of Dental care as well.

 

Pet Coverage

If you are bringing your pet (this is generally restricted to a cat or dog) they can be covered for emergency medical expenses.

 

Emergency Evacuation

This coverage is necessary for trips where you may not be near medical facilities and you may need transport like a helicopter or express train to get to a proper medical facility.

 

Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D)

If an event causes the loss of any body part (dismemberment), you can be compensated according to standard fee schedules. The other portion of coverage is self-explanatory.

 

Baggage Coverage

If your baggage is lost or delayed, you can get reimbursed for necessities as well as clothing and other personal effects.  Some plans will cover items that include laptops and electronic devices.

 

Our recommendation is to ensure that you at minimum purchase Trip Cancellation/Delay coverage since that covers any major trip changes. Some Medical plans will continue your coverage while you are traveling abroad so the Accident/Medical Coverage, Emergency Evacuation, and/or AD&D coverage may even be redundant for some travelers.

However, the medical coverage you get from a travel insurer can be of much better quality, and can put you as a traveler at a lower risk of having to pay up-front for exorbitant medical fees before being reimbursed.

Additional coverages should be subscribed at the travelers discretion.
 

Questions to ask oneself before deciding on coverage include:

  • Is my time away flexible or do I have a strict schedule?
  • Does my plane ticket guarantee I make it to my destination? (i.e. Budget carries like Ryanair do not)
  • What is the airline policy on lost/delayed baggage?
  • Will I be in an urban setting or will I be far away from civilization? (Evacuation potential)
  • Does my home country and the country I’m visiting have a strong relationship? (Legal Assistance)
  • Who will I be traveling with? Is my traveling partner a potential flake that may end up costing me money?

 

All in all, the rates for full coverage Travel Insurance are very reasonable given you choose the right provider.  It is well worth getting full coverage if you can.  You will be very grateful for the options full coverage provides should your trip not go as planned. 

As a tour provider we have seen many trips be interrupted by unforeseen circumstances, and a good quality Travel Insurance plan, such as the one offered by World Nomads or SafetyWing, that covers everything is often the savior of a spoiled vacation. 

Knowing what you are paying for and what your plan includes is important, and we hope the breakdown of each aspect of coverage helps you next time you are researching and purchasing Travel Insurance.

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Where To Stay In New York: Our New York Accommodation Guide

New York City, the Big Apple, NYC, the City that Never Sleeps – call it what you want, New York is most definitely one of the most exciting cities to visit in the world. 

We’ve all grown up watching bits of New York life on our TV and cinema screens, so much so that anyone traveling to New York probably has a long list of ‘must visits’ while in the city.

Travelers need to spend more time planning their daily itineraries rather than stressing about where to stay in New York. This is why we’ve created the ultimate New York accommodation guide – to make your planning process a little bit easier!

We’ve covered all the bases for the best places to stay in New York – from budget-friendly hotels and vibey hostels to hip hotels and apartments. Browse through the below New York accommodation options to help make the best choice on where to stay.

 

Where to stay in New York: The Five Boroughs of New York

New York City is composed of five boroughs – The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Manhattan. Manhattan and Staten Island are islands, while Brooklyn and Queens are geographically part of Long Island, and the Bronx is attached to the US mainland. These are all linked by bridges, tunnels, and ferries.

Each borough has its unique features and attractions. Where you end up staying in New York will depend on your budget and what you are looking to experience in the city. Depending on how many days you are spending in the city, it could be a good idea to move between two or three boroughs to experience the different vibes. Otherwise, with public transport its easy to hop around and experience all of the city.

Manhattan

Manhattan is where it’s happening. Most of the city's tourist sights are located around midtown and downtown, including the Empire State Building and Central Park, therefore accommodation here can be quite pricey. If you’re keen on being in the center of the action, then start your accommodation search here and see if you can find something within your price range. For somewhere still central, but a bit quieter, look for accommodation near Central Park.

For those with a high budget, the Upper East Side may be your vibe. This posh, residential neighborhood is known for its wealthy residents, fancy restaurants and designer shops along Madison Avenue. It’s a pretty neighborhood and also home to The Metropolitan and Guggenheim museums, along with Frick Gallery.

Other popular neighborhoods in Manhattan include the Meatpacking District, Chelsea, East Harlem, Chinatown, Battery Park City, Greenwich Village, Harlem, Flatiron District, Lower East Side, Lower Manhattan, SoHo and Times Square.

Find accommodation in Manhattan

 

The Bronx

Home to the New York Yankees, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Gardens, along with being the birthplace of hip-hop. The Bronx is gritty, vibey, and full of attitude. Discover the neighborhoods of City Island, Fordham, Arthur Avenue & Belmont (aka ‘Little Italy’), Woodlawn, and South Bronx’s Grand Concourse.

Find accommodation in the Bronx

       

Queens

From art lovers and foodies, to outdoors folks and sport lovers, there’s something for everyone to love in Queens. Sports fans will go crazy watching a New York Mets baseball game at Citi Field along with going to the venue where the US Open hosts the world’s best tennis players. Foodies will love the various cuisines that can be found on the streets – from delicious Greek cuisine to authentic Chinese food. For the art fans, there’s MoMA PS1 and Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City. The beautiful Queens Botanical Garden is ideal for travelers who love the outdoors.

Neighborhoods in this side of the city include Astoria, Corona, Flushing, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights, Jamaica, Long Island City, The Rockaways and Sunnyside.

Find accommodation in Queens 

 

Brooklyn

Brooklyn offers something for every kind of traveler. There’s Williamsburg for cutting edge entertainment, live music, and awesome vintage shops. Downtown Brooklyn is then home to Barclays Center, where you’ll find pro hockey and basketball. Families with young kids enjoy Prospect Park and the sidewalks of Park Slope. Not to mention the famous Brooklyn Bridge, which every visit to New York needs to include.

Find accommodation in Brooklyn 

 

Staten Island

Renowned for its museums, beaches, parklands, and historic landmarks – Staten Island shouldn’t be forgotten about when planning a trip to New York. It’s home to the city’s largest forest preserve – the Staten Island Greenbelt. Baseball fans can watch a game at Richmond County Bank Ballpark, while history buffs can experience colonial life at Historic Richmond Town. Even if you aren’t planning on staying on Staten Island, you should at least take advantage of the free Staten Island Ferry. It’s an attraction in its own right.

Find accommodation in Staten Island

 

Where To Stay In New York

Now that you’ve got a bit more knowledge about the areas of New York, let’s start looking at New York accommodation options. From easy on the budget hostels and quaint boutique hotels to high-end luxury hotels and funky apartment rentals – we’ve covered a wide variety of places to stay in New York.

If there’s something specific you’re after, like somewhere with an interesting history, then check out our unique accommodation guide that highlights a few hotels with unique features.

Budget-friendly hotels in New York

We get it. New York is EXPENSIVE! If you’d rather save your dollars for pizza, dancing, and museum hopping than a fancy place to stay, these hotels are for you. We haven’t gone completely back-end alley hotel vibe, but rather hunted down some awesome budget-friendly New York hotels that aren’t riddled with cockroaches and strange smells.

Ameritania at Times Square

While not the most budget-friendly hotel when looking at the whole of New York, Ameritania at Times Square is probably one of the cheapest (nice) hotels in the Times Square area. Located right in the heart of the Theatre District, next to The Ed Sullivan Theater – the location is hot! The rooms are spacious with fun and colorful décor. It’s also less than a kilometer away from Central Park.

Rooms from $190

 

Pod 39

There are a few Pod hotel’s across New York City and Brooklyn. Pod 39 in particular is located 500 meters from Grand Central Terminal and features a restaurant, lounge, and seasonal rooftop bar. There’s also a games room with table tennis! The rooms include all the basic amenities that you’d need – free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, cable TV, and an ensuite bathroom. Though, as the name would suggest, they are small. Some (though less budget-friendly) also have views of the Manhattan skyline.

Rooms from $289

 

Broadway Hotel and Hostel

The Broadway Hotel and Hostel is perfect for travelers on a budget as it offers both private and dorm-style rooms. Its central location in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, just four blocks from Central Park, also means that travelers can save on transport costs. The rooms are decorated in an Asian-style design and include basic amenities like flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, and iPod docks. There are also shared kitchen, dining, and lounge areas available.

Rooms from $180

 

Hostels in New York

You’re young, fabulous, and looking to socialize. Cool. A New York hostel is where you should be looking to stay. We’ve found a few of the best hostels in New York, browse through the below and see which one matches your travel style.

HI NYC Hostel

Housed in a landmark historic Victorian Gothic-style building in the famous Upper West Side neighborhood in Manhattan. HI NYC Hostel has the largest privately-owned patio and green space in Manhattan – and it’s located near Central Park, so you’ll find plenty of greenery in the concrete jungle when staying here. They host a few free programs and events to get to know fellow travelers as well as the popular tourist attractions. Shared facilities include kitchen, laundry facilities, game room, common room and fun rooftop area. Both male and female dorm rooms are available, along with family rooms.

Dorms from $61

 

Vanderbilt YMCA

Vanderbilt YMCA has an amazing location in Midtown Manhattan, just a 10-minute walk from the Grand Central train station. Rooms are basic but include a flat-screen TV with cable and a refrigerator. Shared facilities include a kitchen, lounges, and bathrooms, along with two swimming pools, steam rooms, saunas, and a fitness center.

Dorms from $136

 

Jazz on Columbus Circle

Right next to Central Park, Jazz on Columbus Circle has an ideal location in the heart of New York City – surrounded by restaurants, bars, clubs, shops, and cultural attractions. All rooms, either shared, private or family, have daily housekeeping, a private bathroom, lockers, towels, and linen. There’s also a lounge area and coffee bar, plus the staff organize events and outings to get to know the city better.

Dorms from $81

 

Boutique hotels in New York

Quaint, cute, friendly and just an overall lovely stay. If you love a personal approach and prefer a smaller hotel over a large hotel chain, then you’re probably a boutique hotel kind of traveler. Here are a few of the best boutique hotels in New York.

The Ravel Hotel

Located in Long Island City, The Ravel Hotel overlooks the East River and Roosevelt Island. The main highlight here is the 9,500 square foot Penthouse 808, an outdoor/indoor rooftop restaurant and nightclub. This is one of New York’s popular hot spots for dinners during the week, late night parties on the weekends and bunch on Sundays. Guests get free use of their shuttles to local subways and restaurants.

Rooms from $179

 

Hotel Giraffe

Hotel Giraffe is located in a tall and skinny building on Park Avenue and 26th Street. The 72 guestrooms feature 10-foot ceilings, original 1920s and 1930s artwork, leather headboards, and balconies overlooking the Flatiron District. The rooftop garden is popular amongst guests and is where you can get a complimentary breakfast as well as free cheese and wine with live music each evening. Quaint Giraffe accents can be found throughout.

Rooms from $476

 

Hôtel Americano

The 10-story, 56-room Hôtel Americano is located in the heart of Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, amongst top-class art galleries and New York’s famed High Line Park. Besides the spectacularly decorated rooms, the hotel also features La Piscine – a rooftop restaurant offering coastal Mexican cuisine and a bar specializing in tequila and mezcal. There’s also The Americano which serves Latin-inspired French cuisine. Guests are welcome to make use of the hotel’s bicycles to explore the surrounding neighborhood.

Rooms from $365

 

Luxury five-star hotels in New York

You’re only in New York once right? Well maybe not, but there’s nothing stopping you from acting like it. Why not splash out and experience some of the most lavish and luxurious hotels in the world. We’ve found a few of the top luxury five-star hotels in New York for you to check out.

The Greenwich Hotel

One of the best features of The Greenwich Hotel is its prime location in TriBeCa. Its luxurious 88 rooms and suites feature décor from around the world including Tibetan silk rugs, Swedish bedding, and Moroccan tile – only the best of everything. The rest of the hotel features a Japanese-inspired Zen atmosphere, topped off with poolside yoga, full-service spa, and Japanese art and design throughout the common areas. You can dine like a true celebrity by ordering off the menu of the nearby Locanda Verde while relaxing in the Drawing Room & Courtyard.

Rooms from $795

 

The Mark

The Mark is famous for being the top spot where many celebrities get ready before attending the Met Gala each year. Located in the Upper East Side, this hotel is all about luxurious elegance. While the string of high-end luxury boutiques on 5th-Avenue is nearby, guests don’t really need to leave the hotel to indulge in some shopping. The Mark offers room service prepared by renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, sweet treats by Ladurée, a Frédéric Fekkai salon, and 24/7 access to Bergdorf Goodman for its penthouse guests. Expect nothing but top-class service, facilities, and features.

Rooms from $695

 

The St. Regis New York

Staying at The St. Regis New York is a dream for many travelers to New York. This iconic hotel is the epitome of fashion and glamour, starting with its gold and marble lobby and grand entranceway. The luxurious interiors extend to the specialty themed suites inspired by Dior (pictured here), Tiffany & Co., and Bentley. The features and amenities are second to none, including private butlers and use of the Bentley House car.

Rooms from $1,145

 

Airbnb Apartments in New York

Soho Two-Bedroom with Private Terrace

A private terrace in the most chic neighborhood in New York, what could be better? The outdoor terrace comes complete with grill and outdoor couches - perfect for outdoor entertaining. The apartment includes two bedrooms and bathrooms, along with a large living room with another bed. There's enough space for five guests. 

Rates from $40

 

Classy Manhattan Getaway!

This upper west side apartment features exposed brick walls and loads of natural light. While it is a studio apartment, an alcove creates a natural separation between the sleeping and living area. It's located just two blocks from Central Park and three blocks from Riverside Park. The vintage decor creates a charming atmosphere making it feel like a home away from home.

Rates from $90

 

Historic Two-Bedroom With Backyard

This is the perfect option for families with two spacious bedrooms. The historic 1901 apartment was recently renovated and restored, keeping the original ten-foot tin ceilings, bay windows, and a sunroom with a modern kitchen. The backyard is also popular to spread out and enjoy some outside time. It is near many cafes, restaurants, shops, and galleries.

Rates from $79

 

New York Accommodation With….

…an interesting history

Paper Factory Hotel

The Paper Factory Hotel is housed in a 100-year old paper factory building, located in the heart of Long Island City. It’s a bit further out from the main Manhattan highlights, but it’s not far from a subway station which makes getting around easy to do. The décor is quirky and interesting, incorporating as much of the original repurposed material as possible. Expect vintage hammered metal doors, expansive factory windows and exposed pipes. There’s also an on-site bar with delicious cocktails and the in-house restaurant, Mundo, serves Peruvian and Argentinian cuisine

Rooms from $169

 

…an eco-friendly policy

citizenM New York Times Square

citizenM New York Times Square is less than five minutes on foot to Times Square, 10 minutes to Central Park and close to all of the Broadway shows. The rooms are built to meet BREEAM and LEED sustainability standards, this means smaller rooms with awesome technology to help lower the carbon footprint. Each room has a mood pad where you can control the lights, air-conditioning, curtains, and entertainment system. You can even select a mood, like party or business, and the mood pad will automatically set everything to create the ideal mood. Other eco-friendly policies include full size shampoo and soap bottles, and rain showers.

Rooms from $159

 

…A unique design

The NoMad Hotel

The NoMad Hotel is a French inspired boutique hotel in the Flatiron District. The central location is surrounded by walkable areas like Madison Square Park, Gramercy Park, and Union Square. Inside, guests are transported to Paris with décor including mahogany French desks, elegant artwork, chandeliers, old school free standing bathtubs, and other custom-made furniture and linens. Every room offers a view of the atrium or New York City. There are seven dining spaces available, including the Atrium, The Parlour, The Nomad Bar, The Elephant Bar, Fireplace, Library, and Rooftop. Breakfast is included in all rates.

Rooms from $275

 

The Jane

The Jane Hotel is a living work of art, once home to sailors and Titanic survivors. The rooms in this boutique hotel are designed as ship’s cabins with warm colors and period furnishings. The common areas are decked with period décor, creating a warm and unique atmosphere – guests feel like they’re living in an old-fashioned ship. The Jane is in the super trendy Meat Packing District, close to both Soho and Chelsea.

Rates from $121

 

…a true New York experience

The Ludlow Hotel

The Ludlow Hotel is the Lower East Side’s hip new living room with a singular, loft-like feel and welcoming vibrant public spaces. Designed by New York hoteliers Sean MacPherson, Ira Drukier, and Richard Born, this hotel has a distinct New York atmosphere. The design evokes the neighborhoods history – including the ‘Gangs of New York’ era, the Jewish immigration and the wild art and music scenes. The rooms have a lofty industrial vibe with large windows overlooking the New York skyline and modern, yet cozy, interiors.

Rooms from $395

 

And if you’re budget can’t afford any of the above hotels, you can always try CouchSurfing! We hope that this post has helped you with deciding where to stay in New York.

Prices correct at time of writing.

 

Travel tip shared by Bridget for Travel Dudes
www.thewanderingbridge.com

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Places Around the World You Will Want to Visit to Increase Your Well-Being

From increasing your life expectancy to offering amazing views, here are some amazing places where you will probably want to visit to increase your well-being.

More importantly, many of them have been classified as part of the world’s ‘blue zones’- where people claim to live longer and, importantly, healthier into old age.

 

Places Around the World You Will Want to Visit to Increase Your Well-Being

Sardinia, Italy

The island of Sardinia is one of the first places in the world to be identified as a blue zone, a place that holds the world’s longest living people. It’s actually the place that has the highest concentration of male centenarians, with nearly ten times as many per capita than there are in the United States.

The reason why the people here live so long is a combination of their genetic traits along with their lifestyle, and it’s a great place to live. Not just if you want to live longer but because of their quality of life. They tend to keep things simple and have low stress!

Life shouldn’t be so complicated! Islanders still hunt, fish and harvest all of the food that they eat, with a diet based around whole grain bread, beans, lots of vegetables and fruits, goat’s milk and cheese. They only tend eat meat on special occasions. The island is also a wonderful place to walk around and explore, and with their close community involvement and love for wine, you could do worse than to make this place your home.

 

Fairy Meadows, Pakistan

Fairy Meadows, defined by German climbers German Märchenwiese, ″fairy tale meadows, and known as Joot, consists of plains of grass and trees near to Nanga Parbat,  in Diamer District, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. 

At an altitude of about 3,300 meters over the sea level, it works as the launching position for trekkers summiting on the Rakhiot front of the Nanga Parbat. In 1995, the Pakistan Government announced Fairy Meadows as a National Park.

There are many other places that are very beautiful in Pakistan. Some of them are HUNZA Valley, Nagar Valley and Naltar

 

Volcán, Panama

Volcán in Panama, also called the Shangri-La Valley, is one of the healthiest and most beautiful places in the world.

It’s a popular location for people searching for a low cost of living and stunning scenery, but there’s more to this place than the mountains. Something about Volcán means that residents tend to live for far longer than you would expect based on the life expectancy of the rest of the country, with people often living well into their 80’s or 90’s. This is likely due to the lifestyle you can enjoy here.

Volcán is in the Chiriquí province, which is also known as Panama’s breadbasket, and provides about 80% of Panama’s produce. Farms of all sizes grow pretty much anything you could ever want. With constant spring-like temperatures, thermal springs, and fresh food that includes seafood, eggs and fruits; people that live here exist in a bubble of serenity and health. This is, of course, helped by the surrounding landscape, national parks and a wide variety of wildlife that makes it one of the best bird-watching locations in the whole of Panama.

 

Costa Rica

With cloud forests at five thousand feet, to glorious white sandy beaches, Costa Rica has everything you could want from a place to live. Add to this the bustling cities full of entertainment and culture, reliable infrastructure, and good health care, it’s no wonder that it’s a popular destination for expats and people looking to relocate looking for a better quality of life.

The happy planet index, which measures human well-being and environmental impact, ranks Costa Rica as one of the best places in the world to live. This is the result of a unique way of life in the country. For example, since 1949 their constitution has forbidden them from having an army, and it’s the location of the United Nations University for Peace.

There’s also an impressive life expectancy, and a literacy rate of 97.8 per cent. Everything is relatively cheap here too, although housing has gone up since it is popular with expats, and there’s no end of wondrous sights. Despite taking up 0.03 per cent of the planet, over 5% of the world’s biodiversity can be found here in the numerous protected forests and reserves that are full of hummingbirds, sloths and plenty more.

 

Fukuoka, Japan

Located on the Southwestern island of Kyusha, Fuku-oka is a bustling city that provides its residents with all the best that Japan has to offer, while being situated in a lovely coastal environment. It’s closer to the Asian mainland than anywhere else in Japan, so it is an important trade harbor.

This has brought together an eclectic mix of people and cultures, which can be seen throughout the city. Whether you like calm, serene parks and temples, or atmospheric nightlife and shopping centers, then Fukuoka has you covered. Along the waterfront is the futuristic design that you would expect from Japan, and the further you move inland, the more traditional things become. Japan’s first Zen temple is here, along with a number of castles and ancient buildings to explore.

Fukuoka really is a clash of old versus new, and you can quickly transition between relaxing surroundings to more active ones in no time at all. Of course, as with all of Japan, it can be quite expensive, but if you like the water and ancient history combined with modern amenities, it’s probably worth it!

 

Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, sitting on the Northern coast of the country’s North island. It’s home to people from all around the world- with the largest communities of Polynesians on the planet, and is incredibly welcoming to all newcomers. In fact, more than a third of the people who live here have come from abroad, so you would be in good company.

Now, if your ideal home involves a lot of sun, then this isn’t the place for you, but if you like a more temperate climate with easy access to the warmer Pacific islands, then Auckland is ideal. New Zealand is a stunningly beautiful country; there’s a reason why they filmed the Lord of the Rings there!- and from Auckland you can easily access the rest of the country to explore.

The city itself is a hub of activity with almost two million residents and the usual amenities you would expect from a large city. There’s simply loads to do here, from extreme sports to touring the historic towns and sites in the region, and despite being ranked recently as one of the most expensive cities to live in, it was also ranked third on the quality of living survey, making it a great place to spend your time. The people are friendly, the economy is strong, and there’s plenty of space to set down roots.

 

Vilcabamba, Ecuador

The town of Vilcabamba in Ecuador is another of the world’s blue zones where people claim to live longer and, importantly, healthier into old age. Nestled within the valley of longevity in the South of the country, it’s home to 4,000 people and a popular spot for tourists and new residents who travel from around the world to live there.

The weather here is almost perfect throughout the year, the surrounding land is so fertile that plenty of crops are grown, and the water that locals drink and wash in is as pure as you’ll find anywhere else on earth- having filtered through the Andean mountains. It’s a quiet place with a slow pace of life, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t ample opportunity to party too.

It’s estimated that 80% of the population is made up of ex pats from the U.S and Europe, so you’ll be sure to meet people with similar interests and languages to you. During the annual Carnaval festivities, the town fills with music and color. For those of you who like to experiment with mild altering substances, Vilcabamba could be interesting to you, too.

The local shamans produce a hallucinogen called aguacolla from a local variety of cactus that is used for medicinal and recreational purposes, and is thought to be partly responsible for the healthier lifestyle.

 

Portland, Oregon

As the largest city in Oregon, and the second largest in the Pacific Northwest after Seattle, you may not immediately think of Portland as a dream place to live- but as far as cities go, it’s definitely one of the more chilled and pleasant ones. From the numerous parks, Asian inspired gardens, lots of museums, and plenty of historic and modern attractions to visit, there’s far more to do here than is possible in one trip- and can only be truly enjoyed if you spend some time living here.

And if you like Grimm! The unofficial mantra of the city, as adopted by residents, is “Keep Portland Weird”- something you’re bound to see on bumper stickers and signs. It’s a reflection on the artistic, expressive, eccentric and unique nature to the city and how the residents have embraced it. There’s a reason why shows like Portlandia and Grimm have been set here, and it’s because of all the unusual characters here.

As such a welcoming city for those that wouldn’t necessarily fit in elsewhere, it’s the perfect place to go to live the way you want to live.

 

Northern Coast, Maui, Hawaii

If you’re looking for a beautiful beach and environment to live in, then you’ll find it difficult to find anywhere as good as the Northern Shore of Maui in Hawaii. It’s got everything you would expect from Hawaii; the fresh air, healthy lifestyle and perfect weather, but if you want to live there you’d be best to avoid the tourist hotspots, and this is why the north shore towns of Paia, Haiku and Makawao are ideal.

With the tourist traps of golf courses and resorts on the west coast of the island, these northern towns offer a more authentic version of island life. With arty shops and delicious food in every direction, all surrounded by the sun and the surf, you’re sure to find a fun and relaxing life if you decide to relocate here. Of course, as one of the U.S states, it’s also much easier for an American citizen to move and live  here than any other place on this list, besides Portland!

 

Iceland

If sun isn’t your thing, then Iceland could be the ideal place for you. Don’t be fooled by the name, the island is, in fact, covered in lush green land as well as glaciers, lava fields and mountains, and it offers a way of living you won’t find anywhere else on earth. Despite its northerly location, it is actually surprisingly warm.

It’s one of the safest places in the world, with a murder rate of 0.91 per 100,000 people in comparison to 4.88 in the US. It’s also one of the most educated places, with an adult literacy rate of 100% compared to 97.9% in the US. The country also runs almost entirely on renewable energy mainly from geothermal generators that make use of the volcanic activity in the area. Icelandic cuisine mainly features fish dishes as well as lamb and dairy, and there aren’t many fruits or vegetables because the terrain is difficult to grow them on.

Overwhelmingly the best thing about the island, though, is the scenery and wildlife. It’s the most sparsely populated country in Europe, which leads to a sense of freedom and spacious living. Once the day surrounded by a glorious landscape is over, you’ll be able to look up to the skies and watch the northern lights as you fall asleep. Unusual for any country, Iceland doesn’t have a single McDonalds or strip clubs- nor do they have any mosquitos. Huge plus!! They do, though, have a penis museum with the largest collection in the world with over 280 on display.

 

Melbourne, Australia

Every year surveys are released to determine the best places in the world to live, and Melbourne in Australia has been in first place for the past 7 years. This has taken into account factors such as healthcare, stability, education, infrastructure, culture and the environment- and Melbourne’s trendy bars and café’s helped it top the list by quite some way.

The city has a large number of public parks and gardens, incredible modern architecture, attracts all of the biggest artists in the world for performances, and even has the largest Casino in the southern hemisphere complete with it’s own hourly fire show. It’s a Unesco city of culture because of the number of bookstores, literary festivals, and number of best selling authors that have lived there, and it’s a joy to just get lost in the side streets and explore the rows of boutique shops and artwork.

There’s plenty to do in Melbourne, the people are super friendly, and the weather is great- meaning this is undoubtedly one of the best places in the world that you could ever want to live.

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An Off-Beat Guide to the Best of Bangkok

Bangkok.  Asia's version of 'The City That Never Sleeps'.  

Love it or hate it, according to the latest Global Destination Cities Index, Bangkok has surpassed London as the most visited international destination in the world.

When you think about it, it's not difficult to see Bangkok's appeal.  

The city caters extensively to both budget and luxury travelers.  The street food scene is unparalleled.  Thai massages are a dime a dozen, and for those looking for nightlife, the competing bars on Khao San Rd are difficult to top.  

On the flip side, Buddhist culture pulses through the city's many temples and palaces, and it's easy to step away from the chaos and find serenity along the banks of the Chao Phraya River.

 

Ancient blends with modern.  Asian influences mesh with international flavor.

For those who have visited or researched visiting Bangkok, you probably already know about the city's main attractions; places such as the Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Wat Pho, and Khao San Rd.

Since those parts of the city are already so well known, this guide will focus instead on Bangkok's lesser known sights and experiences.

Even if you're a seasoned Bangkok veteran, hopefully this guide will provide you with something new to see on your next trip!

 

Where to stay in Bangkok

If you're traveling on a budget, but still don't want to compromise on basic amenities such as hot water, air con, and fast wifi, then there's no reason to look any further than Lub d Hostel in Silom.  

Often referred to as the best hostel in Bangkok, Lub d is a world away from the noise and congestion of Khao San Rd, yet just a short walk from the infamous Patpong Night Market and all of the trendy dining options along Silom Rd.  To top it off, it's also located near the sky train (get off at Chong Nonsi BTS Station), so there's no need to take a taxi from the airport.

In terms of accommodation, you can choose between a private room or a dorm, and dorms can be mixed or female-only.  The female-only dorms are located on their own floor with key card access, making them a perfect option for solo female travelers looking for a bit of added security.  

All rooms are equipped with air con, and both private and communal bathrooms offer piping hot water with good water pressure (a luxury that can be pretty hard to come by in a Thai hostel).

The hostel boasts 24-hour reception, an awesome travel desk run by Backpacker by STA, and an on-site restaurant and bar.  There's also a vibey communal area that hosts a variety of social activities such as beer pong, pub crawls, and movie nights, and the hostel also has self-service laundry facilities.

Rates: Dorms start at just $13 per night, Private Rooms with a Shared Bathroom start at $38 per night, and Private En-suite Rooms start at $45 per night.

Location: 4 Decho Rd, Bang Rak, Bangkok

Bookings: Visit their website here or book through Booking.com.

 

What to eat in Bangkok

Street Food

For good, cheap street food and local beer, head to Bangkok's China Town District along Yaowarat Rd or to the area around Khao San Rd.  There are also plenty of places to grab a quick bite along Silom Rd and the area around Patpong Night Market.  Dishes typically range from $1 to $3 per plate (sometimes less!).  

If you're worried about food poisoning, a good rule of thumb is to only order from stalls that have a line or seem busy with a steady stream of customers.

 

Restaurant Dining

For lunch or a quick coconut water, the laid back vibe at Madame Musur Bar and Restaurant just off Soi Ram Buttri (near Khao San Rd) is hard to beat.  On a hot afternoon, it's a great place to tuck in with a good book and relax for a few hours.

For dinner, make a reservation at The Bitter Deck Restaurant on Maha Rat Rd near Wat Pho.  It's a little on the pricey side for Bangkok (about $8-15 per person), but it's right on the river and offers stunning views of Wat Arun.

 

360° Views

If you feel like splurging on a nice evening out, Banyon Tree's swanky open-air Vertigo Restaurant offers 360° views of the city, though dinner will set you back about $40-250 per person.  If you're on a budget, you can also opt to simply enjoy a cocktail at their Moon Bar and then head elsewhere for dinner.

 

Explore

Bangkok By Bike

If you do one thing while in Bangkok, sign up for Backpacker by STA's Bangkok by Bike trip.  Although it seems crazy to attempt to naviagte a bike through the madness of Bangkok's streets, it will be an absolute highlight of your trip.  

This half-day tour pairs you with a local guide and takes you through Bangkok's backstreets, past hidden canals, and through local markets, with stops at several temples that you might not get to experience otherwise.  You'll have the opportunity to see a side of the city that hardly any visitors get to see and will get a glimpse into the day-to-day lives of the local Thai community.

Cost: 1,650 Baht (about $45 per person)

Bookings: Visit the Backpacker by STA Travel Desk at Lub d Silom

 

Wat Saket (Temple of the Golden Mount)

If you're looking to visit a temple that isn't overrun with camera-waving tourists, head to Wat Saket in the cool hours of the morning.  This temple is built on a hill and offers incredible views of the city from the top, though you'll have to climb 300 steps to get there.  If you arrive early enough, you may even catch the monks heading into the city to collect their morning alms.

Cost: Free

Location:  Between Boriphat Road and Lan Luang Road

 

The Jim Thompson House

Jim Thompson was an American CIA (then OSS) operative during the second world war.  After the war ended, he decided to settle down in Thailand, and built himself a beautiful Thai-style home in the center of Bangkok.  He also started a silk company that is still well known and highly successful today.  

In 1967, while traveling with friends in Malaysia's Cameron Highlands, he went for an evening walk by himself and never returned.  An offical 11-day search was launched, but no trace of him or any clues as to what may have happened were found.  This has led to widespread speculation as to whether he was kidnapped, murdered, or simply wanted to "disappear".

His house in Bangkok has been preserved and is now a museum that can be explored by the public (though you have to join a guided tour).  While the tour focuses more on his artifact and antique collection than on conspiracy theories around his disappearance, it's worth an hour or so of your time.  There's also a restaurant and silk shop on the premises.

Cost: 150 Baht (about $4.50)

Hours: 9:00am - 6:00pm

Location: 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Road, Bangkok (near the National Stadium station via Sky Train)

 

Now it's your turn... what off-beat Bangkok attractions did we miss!?

 

For a complete guide to Bangkok, download the Travel Dudes Bangkok City Guidebook on Kindle (or any other device)!

 

Travel tip shared by Jenna Becker for Travel Dudes.

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10 Ways to Visit Europe on a Budget

There is no question that travel in Europe can be expensive. Transportation, accommodation, food and souvenirs add up each day. 

However, there are a number of ways that you can save money yet still have a wonderful and memorable experience. 

10 Ways to Visit Europe & Save Money

1. Travel During the Off-Season

Summer (June – August) and the holiday season (December) are the most popular times to visit Europe and therefore the rates are highest.  Choose to travel during the spring and autumn months when crowds are thinner, the weather is nicer and prices on airfare and room rates drop 20 – 50%. It is often less expensive to fly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to boot. 

 

2. Visit a Country or City Off the Beaten Track

Paris, Rome, London, Prague…if you haven’t visited these cites, one day you certainly need to go.  But if traveling on a budget is your current focus then these are not the cities to visit now.  Instead, consider dozens of remarkable destinations that are not nearly as expensive such as countries in Eastern Europe (Romania, Hungary) or Portugal.  If you prefer to visit Western Europe, simply travel to cities that are less popular and more cost effective.  For instance, the Loire Valley just outside of Paris is draped with ancient castles amidst rolling hills of wine country.  Or, visit Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, known as a “pocket-sized” Prague with half the tourists and a fraction of the cost.

 

3. Holiday Apartment Rentals

In lieu of pricey hotels, seek out holiday apartment rentals.  The best resources online are AirbnbCraigslist or Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO).  You can also find some apartments on Booking.com. These websites offer photos and information on thousands of independently owned apartments in cities all over Europe.  During the off-season, remember to negotiate the price and you’ll be surprised how many rentals owners bite.  Think about it: it’s better for them to rent to you for a lower price than have their rental go empty for a week or weekend.  Remember that most apartments will have a kitchen, so go to the local supermarket and cook to save even more! 

Or, if you're up for something slightly different, try out HomeExchange.

 

4. Picnic

All over Europe there are thousands of beautiful plazas and parks to relax in with a picnic lunch.  Shop at the local markets for bread, cheese, salami, fresh fruit and a bottle of wine.  Ask the shopkeepers for the local specialty and try it.  The price is right, the taste is delicious and the memory unforgettable.

 

5. Buy Local Beverages

Each region in every European country is known for a particular wine, beer, liqueur or other specialty beverage.  Reference your tour book, an information center or simply read a menu outside a restaurant for an idea of the local indulgences. Armed with these tips, there is no doubt that you can get a delicious mug of beer or bottle of wine for a just a few dollars. Remember that soda is often very expensive.  Also, the tap water is fine to drink (and free).  Refill and reuse your water bottles.

 

6. Seek Out Discounts and Free Activities

There are a number of free activities across the pond.  During warmer months, there are hundreds of complimentary outdoor festivals and other interactive events. Wine tasting is generally free as well.  If you are an outdoor enthusiast, hiking trails are at your fingertips all over the continent.  Some cities even offer city tours with the sole expectation of just a few Euros for a tip.  For example, museums in London are free.  Check museum websites in advance to find out which days and times discounts are offered.  Often there are group, student, senior and child discounts and if you don’t see it mentioned, just ask.

 

7. Package Ticket Purchases

If you love museums, cities such as Paris and Amsterdam offer a “Museum Pass” that allows entry into multiple museums with a discount.  You can do the same thing in many cities with a subway and a train. There are many websites online that sell these bundled tickets, GetYourGuide has a huge range of packaged tours/tickets in most of the European cities.

If you are planning to visit multiple countries, check out the Eurail website see if a bundled train tickets are right for you – there is a potential to save you hundreds of dollars!

 

8. Use Public Transportation 

The European Union invests quite a bit of money into its infrastructure.  The end result is public transportation that is quick, efficient and cost-effective.  We all know how pricey taxis can be.  Instead, spend 5 minutes and figure out how take the subway, bus and/or train.  It’s much more relaxing, too! If you're in London, then make sure to get the London Visitor Oyster Card

 

9. Eat and Shop Away From the Main Tourist Trail

There is no doubt that in European cities the shopkeepers know where the tourists go.  Just venture off the main streets a block or two and pop your head into a restaurant to see if they are speaking English or the local language.  Chances are if you hear locals, the prices will be lower and the food much better.   With regards to shopping, you will find better prices on many of the same items if you walk a few blocks away from a main tourist street or attraction.  In some areas, bartering is acceptable so if you do not see a price posted, name a price and negotiate down from there.

 

10. Volunteer or Couch Surf

There are a handful of volunteer organizations that exchange work for room and board.  For instance, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) an organization that promotes organic farming .  A traveler works for 4 hours a day on an organic farm in exchange for a place to sleep and eat.  Another way to sleep for free (and not work) is Couch Surfing.  Check out their website for details.  

 

With these tips in mind, you can thoroughly enjoy a holiday in Europe and save money

Simply create a budget, stick to it and you will have a vacation filled with memorable experiences – and Euros left in your pocket.

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