I’m still away on maternity leave and the guest post parade continues. This week we are talking about a subject that matters to pretty much everyone: Safety and Travel.
I think that sometimes this is a difficult subject to discuss because feeling safe is such an subjective feeling. For example I never felt safer than I did in Mexico but I actually ran into trouble at my own local airport. It can be hard to cut through the misconceptions and news reports and figure out what you feel comfortable with. You really have to evaluate for yourself, by being a discerning researcher and knowing your own limits.
I hope you enjoy the posts this week!
This episode as hosts Jen Leo, Chris Christensen and myself talk about travel news and catch up on previous travels.
This Week’s News:
- Five U.S. aircraft landed at wrong airports since 2012-NTSB
- Royal Caribbean looks to end last minute discounts
- Indian hotel booking site introduces ‘Relationship mode’
- Frenchman destroys road signs in New Zealand as part of hitchhike ‘hissy fit’
- Jet2 bans alcohol sales on morning flights
Picks of the week:
- Gary – flyonward.com
- Jen – pangea196.com
- Chris / Jen – nomadlist.com
- Chris – Chris the Freelancer Podcast
- Chris – Travel Freedom Podcast
- Gary – Allianz Travel Insurance
Vacation in the UK has always been one of the most popular tourist destinations, not only in Europe, but in the whole world as well. London, for instance, attracts millions of tourists every year. Other parts of the country are also popular, although to a lesser extent. Thinking of visiting UK anytime soon? Keep on reading and learn more about some of the activities that will surely make your holiday fun-filled.Vacation in the UK and Attend the Edinburgh Festival
This is one of the best ways to have an immersive cultural experience. Other than enjoying the line-up of the programmes, this is an excellent opportunity to meet other people, socialise, or simply observe the locals as they enjoy their way of life. It is a festival of art and culture, teeming with colour. For sure, you will fall in love with this festival as you witness various performances that showcase ingenious talents.Go on a Food Trip in London
Without a doubt, London is the most popular among visitors of the UK. Here, you will have plenty of options for eating. From five-star restaurants that are run by celebrity chefs to authentic hole-in-the-wall eateries, the options are endless. This is a city that will easily captivate the heart of foodies. Whether you are looking for local dishes or international cuisine, you will have an endless selection when it comes to places to eat.Visit Stonehenge
Known as one of the most iconic attractions in the UK, this is popular because of its ease of accessibility, especially if you are coming from London and Bath. This prehistoric monument will allow you to explore the ancient Neolithic life. One that you should definitely not miss would be the Stone Circle Access, which will provide you with an up close and personal experience of the attraction. Do not forget to drop by Stonehenge Brewery and taste their fresh beers. If you are planning a tour of England, visiting Stonehenge is definitely something to add to your itinerary.Lie on a Beach in Cornwall
Cornwall is the perfect choice for anyone who is looking for a coastal destination in the UK. Whether you would like to swim, surf, or just go sunbathing, there are plenty of options when it comes to beaches that you can enjoy. The Watergate Bay is one of the most popular. Here, make sure to catch a filling meal at the Beach Hut Café. If you want to learn surfing, on the other hand, Gwithian Towans is the perfect destination for you. Gwenver Beach is a must-see for those who are looking for less crowded beaches.Play Golf at St Andrews
Known as the Home of Golf, this is one of the most popular golf courses not only in the UK, but in the whole world. The most popular part is the Old Course, but players will surely be in for a treat as there are ten other courses that can be enjoyed as well. All of the courses are open to the public. One of its biggest selling point is perhaps the stunning views that you can enjoy during tee times.
If you are lucky enough to be able to vacation in the UK, make time to check out these top destinations.
Natural ways to cure jet lag if you love to travel. Flying is a particularly enticing variant on this, as the guilt you may associate with your increased carbon footprint can easily be offset by the excitement of going somewhere far away, in a giant metal ship in the sky. But the further your flight takes you, particularly if you’re travelling east rather than west, the more you’ll have to pay for it in fatigue, muscle ache and insomnia when you arrive.
This is the bugbear we call jet lag. The reason it is so much worse travelling eastwards is that jet lag is caused by disruption to our circadian rhythm – the body’s internal clock, which adjusts your system according to the regularity of the light around you. This ‘daily’ clock actually runs a cycle of a little over 24 hours, so when you travel westwards – creating an artificially longer day – you are at least working with that internal timer to some extent.
But when you travel east, the shorter day is a shock to the system. If you’ve ever seen how disoriented the birds get during an eclipse, you’ll recognize the phenomenon. And the thing is, even if you’re travelling west, it probably means you’re going to fly back eastwards again. There’s no avoiding jet lag if you want to fly across multiple time zones – but learning to manage your body’s relationship with these circadian rhythms is a superb way to minimize the damage upon landing.Natural ways to cure jet lag
The natural remedies you can try won’t all feel very natural. When you see that fresh linen in your hotel room, even if it’s 10 in the morning your ‘natural’ instinct will probably be to get your head down for something not too far short of eternity. But your conscious intellect doesn’t always know what your primal operating system really needs.
You’re going to need a good combination of natural light and good nighttime sleep (at least four hours) that first day after landing, which means a daytime nap of no more than twenty minutes should be your limit. Whether you take it first thing on arrival or try to hold out a while is up to you, but as far as possible try to avoid self-medicating with coffee because this will also compromise the quality of that long-awaited good night’s sleep when it comes.
You can actually stimulate your body and mind to a better level of wakefulness by engaging in light exercise, so do some yoga or go for a walk to get that blood pumping and fill your lungs with oxygen – but don’t do it too close to bedtime, as again it can disrupt your sleep. A warm morning shower and a cold evening shower can also force-reset your body’s sleep timer to the new time zone, as the temperature changes can trigger the desired release of the melatonin hormone to get you back on track.Natural ways to cure jet lag is to bath in sunlight
The most natural way to retrain your body, though, is to bathe it in sunlight. This is good news if you’ve travelled somewhere hot for a relaxing holiday, but not so good if your journey eastwards has deposited you back in your gloomy hometown with a day in the office ahead of you. Still, you can think about switching out those light bulbs for daylight LEDS, or – if this kind of travel is frequent for you – trick your body’s light receptors at source by investing in a pair of Re-Timer glasses whose soft green light has been academically proven to help regulate sleep patterns.
Once you’re actually in bed (after dark, of course) you can use traditional methods to try and get as close to that solid eight hours as possible – use an eye mask and earplugs to block out potential disturbances, and also consider packing an unwashed pillow case from home. Used on a hotel pillow, the scent of home can subconsciously influence your body’s defensive mechanisms into feeling safer, and thus achieving a deeper sleep.
These solutions can give you a good, balanced start in your fight back against the tyranny of jet lag. Of course, you can try to pump yourself up with pharmaceuticals and coffee, but it’s not going to be kind to your system in the long run. Researchers even discovered that hamsters who were administered with Viagra after long flights had their jet lag reduced, although with predictable side-effects (it is not noted whether the rodents took advantage of the improved circulation to their nether regions once they checked into the their tiny hamster hotels).
But while that may be an appealing remedy for randy pets, you can be a lot kinder to your system in the long run by aligning your behavior with the broader machinations of the natural world. For more ideas on how to do so, check out this elegant new infographic, and prepare to take control of those first critical hours after landing.
Dusseldorf is a place of contrasts — a bustling, artistic and fashionable city of nearly 600,000 inhabitants in the western reaches of Germany along the Rhine River, it manages to feel like both a big city and a small town.
Its economy roars along, with local industries still chugging, while fashion boutiques and upscale department stores line its swanky Königsallee. Students train in art and design, while young professionals go to work each morning in the city’s Media Harbour, a riverside development project that has attracted media companies, architects, and designers. Trendy restaurants fill up at night as locals hit the opera — or grungy nightclubs.
And yet, along the cobblestone-lined blocks of the Altstadt, it’s easy to get lost in Dusseldorf’s small town charms. You saunter up to a window outside Et Kabüffke, a bar along Flinger Strasse, and a bartender pours out a glass of Killepitsch, a famously powerful herbal liquor. You head to the city’s Kunstpalast art museum and find that you have an entire gallery to yourself. You stroll the Rhine, taking in the sunset in silence before retiring with a local crowd for a pint (or three) of Altbier, the city’s signature dark brew.
Big city or intimate town — Dusseldorf offers visitors a wide variety of cultural, culinary and shopping activities. Surprisingly, given Dusseldorf’s rather ritzy reputation for fine arts and fashion, the city can be visited and enjoyed quite affordably, especially when following some of the tips listed below.Getting around Dusseldorf
Dusseldorf’s efficient public transit system includes the subway, bus and street tram. Many of the city’s main tourists sights are conveniently located within the Altstadt or the nearby Media Harbour, and are easily reached by foot.
You have several options for public transit tickets (see all options):
• Single tickets for all public transit can be purchased for €2.60 in the center zone and are valid for up to 90 minutes of travel. This is a good option if you simply need one ride during the day, however if you’re expecting to make multiple journeys in a single day, consider a day ticket (below).
• Day tickets for public transit cost €6.70 for unlimited travel in the center, and get cheaper when you add more people to the ticket (two people €9.90; three €13.10, etc.). While these day tickets can easily be cheaper than buying single tickets, don’t forget to about the benefits of the DusseldorfCard, which also covers public transit (below).
• Bikes! Unsurprisingly, this German city is well equipped for cyclists. Rent bikes for €10 per day behind the main train stations at the Radstation (bike station), Willi-Becker-Allee 8a.Saving with the DusseldorfCard
The DusseldorfCard is the city’s tourist-friendly pass, and covers free public transit and also offers discounts or free admission to museums and attractions throughout the city.
Dusseldorf Card prices (2016)
(Note that a “Family” consists of 2 adults and 2 children (up to 14 years old), while a “Group” is 3 adults.)Free and reduced entry with the Dusseldorf Card
In addition to free public transportation, the card offers free admission to 11 of the city’s museums, including:
- Schloss und Park Benrath (Benrath Palace and park) (€14 adult admission without card)
- Kunsthalle Dusseldorf (€6 adult admission without card)
- Filmmuseum Landeshauptstadt (€5 adult admission without card)
- Goethe-Museum (€4 adult admission without card)
- Dusseldorf History Museum (Stadtmuseum Landeshauptstadt Dusseldorf (€4 adult admission without card)
Additionally, the card grants reduced entry to many other attractions throughout Dusseldorf, including:
- Museum Kunstpalast
- Neanderthal Museum
- Black Box cinema
- Deutsch Oper am Rhein
- Dusseldorf Marionette Theater
- Rheinturm Dusseldorf (TV Tower)
- Reduced admission for numerous walking tours, bus and boat tours.
Should you invest in a DusseldorfCard? Check out the entire list of benefits the card carries here, and run the numbers. If you plan to visit any of the attractions to which it grants free admission (including, obviously, the palace), it almost certainly makes sense.Save on hotels in Dusseldorf
At EuroCheapo, we’re big fans of small, centrally located and independently-run hotels. You can search all hotels available for your trip here.
Some of the best hotel values we found located in the city center include:A&O Dusseldorf Hauptbahnhof
This outpost of the popular A&O budget hotel and hostel chain is located a 10-minute walk toward the Altstadt from the train station. A&O offers everything from singles to quads (all with private bath), along with dorm beds (in a six-bedded room with private bath) for those looking for a serious cheap sleep. All rooms are equipped with TV and private bath. Wi-Fi is free in public spaces. Our searches turned up twin rooms for $62. (search dates)Hotel Batavia
The Batavia is a true deal, with very low rates for comfortable, three-star rooms just a five-minute walk from the train station. All rooms offer free Wi-Fi, private bath, and TV. Our searches turned up doubles for $65. (search dates)Barcelona Bed & Breakfast
The intriguingly named Barcelona Bed & Breakfast offers 17 colorful rooms with private baths and TV in the heart of the Altstadt, very near the Kunsthalle art museum. Breakfast included. Our searches turned up doubles for $82. (search dates)Altstadt Hotel St. Georg
Located smack in the middle of the Old Town (a block from the city’s famous bar- and restaurant-lined Flinger Strasse), the 22-room Hotel St. Georg provides three-star rooms with a pleasing traditional decor. All rooms with TV, private bath, and breakfast included. Our searches turned up doubles for $85. (search dates)Centro Hotel Design Apart
This three-star Altstadt hotel offers 18 apartments with a touch of modern design flair, each equipped with a TV, kitchenette (great for saving on meals), private bath and more. Our searches turned up doubles for under $95.Max Brown Hotel Midtown
Part of the hip and ultra-designed Max Brown chain, this three-star hotel offers typically trendy rooms in Dusseldorf’s Japanese neighborhood, a quick walk west of the Altstadt (and very close to the shops of Konigsalle). Free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV, “spa-quality” toiletries, etc. Our searches turned up doubles for about $105. (search dates)Breidenbacher Hof (splurge!)
For readers looking to pamper themselves during a “special trip” to Dusseldorf (or those on an expense account), you can’t do better than the five-star Breidenbacher Hof, located along the celebrated Konigsallee shopping boulevard, and a short walk to the Altstadt. The Breidenbacher sets the standard for luxurious accommodation in Dusseldorf and has hosted a long list of celebrity guests and dignitaries. Spacious rooms and suites are decorated in impeccable classical decor, and the hotel’s well-equipped lounge and “living room” is open to all guests. Our searches turned up doubles from $296. (search dates)
Want to see more options? Click here to search all hotels in Dusseldorf.Shopping
Dusseldorf might be known for its fashion scene and upscale department stores, but cost-conscious shoppers can also find deals. Here are some tips:
Shop vintage. Why buy new? Check out Le Freak & Chic for an eclectic mix of second-hand fashions. Huttenstrasse 57. Want something newer, but second-hand? Swing by Anziehend for labels for less. Wissmannstrasse 2.
Stroll the flea market: The city’s most famous and oldest flea market is Radschlager Market, which offers everything from vintage housewares to lovely antiques. The market is held about twice a month. Check the official schedule for dates. Grossmarkt, Ulmenstrasse 275.
Flea market and jazz: The Trodel & Antik Markt is held every Saturday at Aachener Platz, from 6 am to 4 pm. The best part (aside from hunting down deals)? You can shop to the sounds of live jazz! Aachener Platz, Saturdays.More ways to save in Dusseldorf
But wait, there’s more! Additional ways to save on your trip to Dusseldorf include:
Hit the tourist information center: Swing by the tourist offices to pick up maps, discuss events and attractions, book tickets and buy a DusseldorfCard. Ask about free events taking place during your visit. Two locations, in Altstadt: Marktstraße 6d, and at the train station.
Save on parking: Instead of parking at an expensive garage in the city center, park for free at one of the city’s 12 Park & Ride Station, then take public transit into town. (Have you already booked your rental car? Be sure to do that in advance for the best deals. Search car rentals here.)
Lunch at the market: Feast on the freshest of ingredients at the city’s daily market at Carlsplatz. Sample mouth-watering treats, grab lunch, and then head a few blocks away to the riverfront promenade for an unforgettable picnic. Open daily from 8 am – 6 pm (Saturday closes at 4 pm, closed Sunday)
Altbier sampling: You cannot leave Dusseldorf without sampling the city’s Altbier, the famously dark local brew that’s on tap (sometimes exclusively!) in bars throughout town. Wander the old town, dropping in to sample the different Altbiers — each one is different. We’re partial to Zum Uerige (Bergerstrasse 1), which offers not just tasty beer (brewed in-house), but delicious and affordable meals, as well. But don’t just take our word for it, sip for yourself! Check out this roundup of the city’s best pubs.
Sunset and a free show: Enjoy the sunset and take in free street performances nightly in the Altstadt near the steps heading down to the Rhine at Burgplatz, just next to the Old City Hall (Altes Rathaus). After the sun goes down, stroll the Rhine embankment promenade, alongside dozens of small bars, cafes and restaurants. Nightcap, anyone?
Going out? Follow the students. Dusseldorf has a long history of cutting edge live music clubs, bars and dance clubs. Fortunately for those on a budget, many of these are geared to the city’s huge university-aged population. Check these nightlife listings on Yelp.
Dusseldorf is located near the western border of Germany and is part of an industrial-rich cluster of cities that includes Dortmund (just north of Dusseldorf) and Cologne (just to its south).
Dusseldorf airport offers flights on 70 airlines to 200 destinations. It’s a slick and tidy affair, with efficient check-in counters and security. The airport has recently renovated large portions of the terminals and offers a tourist-friendly 60 shops and 40 places to eat and drink while waiting for takeoff.
Flying here: airberlin flies directly to Dusseldorf from several US destinations, including New York, Miami, Fort Myers, and Los Angeles. Flights from the US can be found for under $500 in Economy Class, and, for those looking for an affordable, yet luxurious arrival, from $2,500 in their newly updated Business Class (which includes private pods, three-course meals, and fully-reclining beds).
Trains: From the airport, board the SkyTrain to reach the main airport train station, which is serviced by more than 350 trains a day. From here, you can board a variety of trains to the city center. A second, smaller S-Bahn station is located under Terminal C. Read more here.
Buses: Public buses arrive and depart just in front of the main arrivals hall. Bus 721 will take you to the main train station. Read more
Taxis: Taxis are the most expensive, and simplest, way to arrive. All take credit cards. Expect to pay about €28 for a trip to the city center. Read moreArriving by train
Dusseldorf’s main train station, its “Hauptbahnhof”, is located about a 15-minute walk (or a 5-minute subway ride) east of the Altstadt. Train connections are plentiful, and timetables can be searched on the Bahn.de website.
Remember, there’s no need to book German rail tickets through a foreign ticketing agency or buy an expensive rail pass. Stick to the official German rail website and book your tickets like the locals do — and at local-friendly prices!
Munich’s famous festival tradition, Oktoberfest, always begins the second-to-last weekend in September and ends the first weekend of October. We prefer going in September before the masses start arriving from all over Europe and the world. But no matter what day you go, prepare for an unforgettable time — if you can remember anything at all after so many gallons of beer.
Once you get to Munich, there are plenty of ways to shrink your wallet while expanding your beer belly. If you don’t follow a few simple tips, it’s easy for first-timers to waste a lot of cash and time. Here are some ways to save when hitting the happiest place in Bavaria.1. Arrive “beer-ed” up and ready to go
The cost for a one-liter stein of beer has passed the €10 mark, so make a plan to pre-party elsewhere first. Smaller beer tents sell beer for a euro or two less, but outside the festival, there are dozens of beer gardens to hang out at for €6.50+ a pop.2. Hotel regulars: try hostels
Munich is a place with a huge selection of decent hostels around the city, many of them with private rooms. Hostelling Youth International is present, along with Germany’s well-received Meininger Hotel or try CVJM/YMCA Hostel for a really cheap sleep. Some hostels rival cleanliness and amenities with large city two-star hotels. Don’t let the experience of age get in the way of a good offer at a Munich hostel.3. Hostel regulars: try camping
Campsites specific for Oktoberfesters include The Tent and Wies’n Camp that cost €8 to €25 per night depending on how much equipment you have. Camping gear is also available for rent, even ready-made tents, so you don’t have to bring much. For lower costs, remember that the larger your group, the cheaper the price. Other Munich camping sites include Campsite Nord-West and Campsite Obermenzing.4. Stay local and cheap during Oktoberfest
The festival is not located in the old city center or anywhere near the Hofbrauhaus, so staying downtown is probably not ideal if you are only town to experience Oktoberfest. The festival is located at S-Bahn station Hackerbrucke, which is a few stops away from downtown. Look to book closer to the festival in neighborhoods like Laim or Hirschgarten (an area with amazing greenery, cute deer, and large beer gardens).
Forget taxis, the best part about traveling around Munich are the quick and efficient S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains. Since the festival ends every night at 11 pm, the metros are still running for an extra hour or more. It’s easy to get around, and a three-day travel ticket is only €16, while a one-way trip is €2.70. There’s even an online guide to using public transport during the festival too.6. Scoring deals on lederhosen and dirndls
It’s a great souvenir and beer-drinking outfit that lasts a lifetime but make sure to shop around for the best deals. If you’re not looking for uber-authentic, try larger department stores around Marienplatz than the real McCoy. A full dirndl outfit set can be as low as €60 if you shop smart.7. Eat a big meal before you enter
The roasted chicken and warm potato salads are to die for, but the prices might just kill your wallet. It’s not an insane amount, but a pretzel, a beer, an apple strudel…it all adds up very quickly. Grab a big meal before heading into the festival to guarantee you’ll be eating just enough to get your beer belly through the night.8. Pass on the lebkuchen
Lebkuchen are those heart-shaped cookie cakes with adorable phrases written in icing look so delicious and sweet! But don’t be fooled. They’re not as fresh and moist as you think, and the shrink wrap around it doesn’t add a very nice flavor either. These cakes are not to eat, they’re to wear as a necklace. A cute gift, but don’t go for the XXL size.9. Don’t buy a pointy hat
This is a personal pet peeve I have with first-timers at Oktoberfest. Maybe it’s because they’re the cheapest souvenir around, but these tacky, grey felt hats claim to be “original Bavarian” style. Trust me, there are much better and much more flattering Munich hats out there that don’t resemble a drunk college guy meets wimpy Halloween witch.10. Save time by knowing when to go
Yes, it’s true people wake up at 6 am to score a seat in a tent, but it’s more out of anxiety than necessity. Tents are open from 11 am to 11 pm but waiting early for a tent to open is for beginners. Locals know that Oktoberfest weekends are for sunny beer garden afternoons and weekdays are for hassle-free walk-ins to any beer tent.
Timing is still important: try to get there before 4 pm for any decent seat. But the key to a fun Oktoberfest experience is flexibility, patience and going with the Oktoberfest beer flow.
Note: This article was updated in September 2016 to reflect price changes.
The post Munich: 10 ways to save time & money at Oktoberfest appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.
After touching down in Manila’s international airport, I lugged my backpack around in circles searching for a minibus, or jeepny as they call them in the Philippines, to the nearest subway station. With sweat running down my face, I squinted at every packed bus that drove by. Bus, after bus, after bus I couldn’t seem to find the right one.
After about thirty minutes I learned from a security guard that the jeepneys to the subway don’t stop by terminal three, they’re at terminal one. He cautioned me that with Manila’s traffic, a shuttle to terminal one and a jeepny to the subway might take me close to two hours. TWO HOURS?!
Well then… taxi it is! I spent another twenty minutes looking for a white taxi. You see, the yellow airport taxis are much more expensive, and as a budget traveler, I wasn’t about to pay way more pesos for the same exact ride. After asking around, I finally found them on the opposite side of the airport and up a flight of stairs. You’d think they would have signs or something, but apparently not.
When I finally hopped in the nice, air-conditioned cab my driver turned back to me. “Twenty pesos for the airport,” he demanded. I did my research. I knew the fee was a scam so I refused to pay and he didn’t push the issue further.
Relieved, I sank into my seat and shut my eyes. We zoomed through the airport and onto the highway, until the car screeched to a sudden halt. Traffic. Over the course of an hour we inched slowly through the never-ending wall of cars. While I felt bad for myself, I felt even worse for the driver. Manila’s taxis only charge based on distance, not time.
My driver was a bit annoyed when I told him to take me to the nearest subway stop instead of my hostel, but there was no way I was taking that taxi through the entire city!
When I finally exited the packed subway in my downtown Manila neighborhood, I stumbled along the side of the road, trying not to get hit by the cars whizzing by. Choking on the humidity, exhaust and pollution, I wondered: Should I have skipped Manila?
Skip Manila. That’s what everyone on the backpacker route told me. Don’t bother. It’s polluted, the traffic is awful, the food is bad and the only thing to do there is shop.
Did I make a mistake? Should I have skipped Manila?
With three full days in the city, I decided to make the most of it. I am a travel blogger after all.Making the Most of Manila
Sure, Manila has its faults and it’s not my favorite Southeast Asian city, but should you really skip Manila?
After three full days exploring the city and surrounding area, I would say no.
There are so many things to do and see in Manila, the city is worth at least a few days. I had a great time exploring this bustling Filipino capital, and I’m actually very excited to return again in the fall.Why is Manila worth your time?
- Intramuros, Manila’s Old Town
By far my favorite part of Manila is the city’s Spanish old town, Intramuros. Filled with churches, horse-drawn carriages and picturesque gardens, Intramuros is an escape from Manila’s chaos.
While most of this walled city was destroyed in WII, the entire area has been restored to its former beauty. Overall, I would definitely recommend wandering around Fort Santiago, the San Agustin Church and Casa Manila, a reproduction of the old lavish colonial style homes.
By far my absolute favorite part of my trip to Manila was Carlos Celdran’s Walk This Way tour. At first I wondered how so many people could possibly attend one walking tour, but then I realized that it’s less of a tour and more of a show. Carlos uses theater, comedy and a dash of sarcasm to teach you all about Manila’s history from start to finish. He has props, throws candy at you, and ends the tour with halo halo dessert! I’ve never been so entertained learning history, and I came away knowing so much more about the city than I ever learned in school.
- Fantastic nightlife
From chill pubs and stunning rooftop cocktail bars to crazy clubs and a vibrant live music scene, Manila has it all. An entire night out can cost just a few USD with cheap drinks and minimal entry fees. While I did accidentally wander into a bar with a very obvious level of prostitution, that situation is easily avoidable if you know where to go. Have a drink and relax with a view of the city, or party the night away with Manila’s wild college students. It’s up to you!
- Wonderful people
One night my friend and I got a bit lost coming home from dinner and stumbled on a group of women sitting outside on the street. The women turned out to be the neighborhood night watch ladies, which basically meant they sat outside all night drinking and chatting with each other, while also preventing crime in their neighborhood.
They invited us to sit with them, bought us balut to try, and gave us their phone number to meet up later. At the end of my trip when I stopped by Manila for a day, I met up with one of the women from the group. While she’s only a few years older than me, she already has two children and was about to move to Kuwait to take a job in a hotel. We talked over dinner about her struggles leaving her kids behind, and her hopes for the future and her family. This girl was so nice; she even accompanied me to the airport!
- Incredible shopping
Manila has a HUGE shopping culture. Boasting the Mall of Asia, one of the biggest shopping malls in the world, as well as many other fancy stores in the posh Makati neighborhood, there’s nothing here you can’t find for a good price.
Even if you’re backpacking long-term, it’s worth wandering around the malls just to see the consumerism for yourself. I had a great time window shopping and people watching in the Mall of Asia for a few hours. When in Rome, right?
- Great Restaurants
While a few bloggers have complained about Manila’s food in the past, the capital actually has a great foodie scene. Unfortunately the food here isn’t quite as cheap as Thailand and Vietnam, but there’s plenty of amazing restaurants to be found if you ask around.
To be honest, at first I had a really hard time finding good places to eat that weren’t fast food. Part of this had to do with the neighborhood I was staying in, which wasn’t the nicest place in the world. However, once I started asking the locals, I had amazing and affordable Filipino and international cuisine!
I tasted traditional dishes at a nice restaurant in Intramuros and cheap BBQ at a small street-side restaurant. I sampled incredible seafood at a beautiful waterside restaurant while watching the sunset, and ate Middle Eastern cuisine while smoking shisha with my hostel owner.
The trick to Manila’s food scene is to just ask the locals where to go. The only local advice I disagree with is the city’s love of buffets. While they’re famous in Manila, I didn’t think the food was that great, and I didn’t really get my money’s worth either.
- Fantastic day trips
While in Manila I took a trip to the Taal Volcano, the world’s smallest active volcano. Only about an hour away from the city, the volcano boasts a sulfur lake in the center with a tiny island! The locals joke that it’s an island in a lake, in a volcano, in a lake, on an island.
While the top of the volcano was beautiful, the tour from my hostel was pretty disorganized, which is par for the course in the Philippines. Also, since most people take horses to the top, the hike was ridiculously hot and dusty. I had dirt on my teeth! At least it was an adventure.
Aside from the Taal, you can also take a trip to Batangas, which has great beaches and diving spots. Since Batangas is about 2-3 hours from Manila, I recommend making a longer trip out of it by also visiting Puerto Galera. Here you’ll find white sandy beaches, tropical forests, waterfalls and incredible scuba diving.
- Manila Bay’s sunset
Honestly, Manila’s sunsets are the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen in a city. I recommend heading to the waterfront for a perfect view. However, I also enjoyed watching them from my hostel’s rooftop pool!
Overall, Manila isn’t my favorite city in all of Asia, but it’s also not the boring, dangerous, dirty cesspool that many people (including travel bloggers) make it out to be. There’s plenty to do, see, and eat in this city to keep you busy for at least two or three days.
While it might seem like everyone is telling you to skip Manila, go with your gut. If you have a few days to spare, and you can keep an open mind, Manila might just surprise you.
Traveler, expat and spicy food lover, Richelle has been living and working in China for the last three years. In her spare time she loves salsa dancing, scuba diving and stuffing her face with street food. For more expat advice and crazy travel stories, find her at Adventures Around Asia.
To travel around the world and how to Travelling the World on a Budget – this is perhaps one of the things that most people wish to do. It is in their bucket lists, but there is often one hindrance – budget. From airfare to accommodations, food to other daily expenses, financial resources will be required. With this, below are some of the tips that you should keep in mind to make it possible to explore the world without the need to spend a fortune.Travelling the World on a Budget Book Early
Take advantage of early bird discounts that are available, especially for airfare and accommodations.
Some may prefer to be spontaneous, but the latter can hurt your pocket. Start planning as early as possible. This will give you time to evaluate your choices and of course, to save money for your travel.Eat Street Food
When travelling, food can eat up a chunk of your budget. Forget about dining in high-end restaurants or those that are run by celebrity chefs. Live like a local and have a gastronomic feast of cheap street foods. They are not only delicious, but also an authentic way of experiencing local culture.Travel by Campervan
It would be best to travel by campervan as you will be able to save a lot from your airfares and accommodation costs. The best thing is that you can take it slow and travel at your own pace. You can stop wherever you want to and go when you are ready. This gives you the complete freedom to plan your travel.Stay in a Hostel
Your accommodation will also be a big fraction of your budget as you travel around the world. Do not stay in lavish hotels. Instead, consider hostels. The latter will allow you to stay in dorms where you can meet other people and share stories about your travels. It is a good way to be social while also being able to save a lot. Here are some tips and tricks for hostel travel.Travel as a Group
There is a certain kind of liberation and happiness from traveling solo. However, it can also be expensive. If you wish to travel the world, you should do it with someone else. Form a group and for sure, you will be able to save a lot. This is because most of the expenses will be shared. Tours, in addition, can also be cheaper if it is booked as a group than individually.Use City Passes
As soon as you arrive in your destination, look for a city pass. They can appear expensive at first, but when you think about all the things you want to see and do, you will realize that the perks will be worth it. They can provide you with restaurant discounts, special promotions for accommodations, and cheap tours.Ditch the Shopping
Forget about the idea of shopping when you travel the world. It can consume a lot of your budget. From the occasional splurging like a ref magnet to luxury shopping like a designer bag, it would be best to forget for a while that you are shopaholic. Use your money wisely, and sadly, shopping is not a part of wise spending.
UK for a big celebration… Weddings. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Family Gatherings. These are just some of the celebrations that you can host in the locations we discuss below. These venues will surely provide you with the accommodations and amenities required to plan an event that will be truly memorable.Where to go in the UK for a big celebration Waterwynch House
With a sleeping capacity of 28, this venue is located in Tenby. This palatial residence is set in the middle of greens, making it a relaxing venue. The best thing is that it will provide you with direct access to a secluded beach. There is also an expansive garden, which can be an excellent place if you are looking for a venue fitted for outdoor celebrations. Inside the house, guests will surely be entertained as it has billiard tables, therapy rooms, and even a gym. Click here for more information.Stuckgowan
This holiday house in Scotland is in a dreamy setting, located in the middle of a lush forest. It is equipped with 9 bedrooms and has sleeping accommodations for up to 21 people. The 1820’s mansion is reflective of charming, old age exteriors, but the interior is contemporary. One of its best features is a seven-seater hot tub, which is best enjoyed while sipping a glass of wine. It also comes with a breakfast bar that can seat up to 14 people, allowing guests to start their day with a hearty meal and a heavenly view.Thornbury Castle
Situated just about two hours from London, and half an hour from Bristol, this is another lavish UK venue that will be perfect for different celebrations, especially weddings. This is popular because it is the only Tudor castle that also provides accommodations. It comes with 28 bedrooms. They have designed each bedroom with lavish interiors; most have four-poster beds. It has a medieval architecture and a dramatic hall, making it perfect even for celebrations that exude elegance. From the interior to the exterior, from the courtyard to the bedrooms, you can expect nothing but the best from this extravagant venue.Lismore Castle
If you are planning to hold a special celebration in Ireland, this is one of the venues that should be on the top of your list. The castle was built by King John in 1185, making it very interesting in terms of history. It has a sleeping capacity of 27 guests. There is also a banquet hall and being it can accommodate up to 75 people, it makes an excellent venue for a special celebration. The best thing is that it is only an hour away from the Cork International Airport.Carberry Tower
This 30-bedroom venue is found in Edinburgh, Scotland. Aside from lavish bedrooms, it offers public spaces that are perfect for socialisation. The venue has its own marquee seating. It can accommodate up to 180 guests making it the perfect choice if you are planning a large celebration. The outdoor courtyard area will make an excellent place for a wedding. You can use it to host year-round as well. For more information visit www.carberrytower.com.
These top 5 of the best places in the UK for a big celebration are all worthy of consideration. Whatever your event, you and your guests will delight in your surroundings.
Quitting Your Job to Travel the World, most of us at some point have gazed out of the window at work onto another grey and dreary day, and wondered what it would be like to spend our lives travelling through exotic locations and soaking up the sun on the beach.
With bills to pay and lifestyles to fund, for most of us it remains a dream. But what if you could have both? Here we take a look at some innovative ways to make a living travelling the world, and some of the people who’ve made a success of it.Quitting Your Job to Travel the World Show and Tell (and Sell)
Seven years ago, Gareth Leonard had a comfortable, $50,000-a-year marketing job, but at age 25, he wasn’t fulfilled and knew office life wasn’t for him. He quit his job and bought a one-way ticket to Argentina, where he worked as a bartender and set up a website to share his stories with his family back home while he waited to come up with a business idea.
However, his business was already growing. By the time he moved on to Colombia, his blog posts were attracting far more attention than just that of his family, and he started getting offers from brands and advertisers wanting sponsored posts and reviews.
Today, through his travel blog Tourist2Townie, Leonard makes his living by sharing his stories of living in different communities throughout the world, including Brazil, Australia and Thailand. He works with major brands and even tourist boards, and makes more money than he did in the “safe” job he quit, calling his experience “the most exciting thing in the world”.
Matthew Karsten wasn’t even in such a fortunate position before he began his travels. In 2009 he realized he wanted to travel the world, inspired by two friends who were doing just that incredibly cheaply. Sick of having to work two jobs to make ends meet, Matthew started formulating a plan to fund his travels.
He sold his car, cancelled his gym membership and stopped going out to bars and restaurants. Within a year he’d saved $7,000, as well as making up to $2,000 a month from researching and writing how-to guides which he sold online, funding his trip to Guatemala. He then put his writing skills to good use by developing a travel blog and offering companies he admired long-term content partnerships.
In addition, he licenses the photographs he takes on his travels for commercial use; they’ve been bought by tourist boards, holiday companies and even the National Geographic. Matthew’s blog has become so popular that some countries have paid him to visit and write about his time there. He now makes six figures a year. “I still travel the world on a budget,” he says, “but I’m also able to save money. Or splurge on the occasional expensive experience.”Become a House Sitter
Canadian couple Dalene and Pete Heck had safe corporate jobs and a comfortable house in the suburbs when in 2007 a series of personal tragedies led them to realize there was more to life, and they were determined to discover it. Since 2009 they have perpetually traveled the world as professional house sitters, a career that has allowed them to experience life and get to know the locals in a huge variety of locations including Bolivia, Greenland and the Sahara Desert.
They have no regrets about switching their sizable home for a suitcase. As Dalene says, “We went from scraping the bottom of life’s deepest hole to blowing the roof off the top. And we have no plans to slow down. This life is too good.”Trade on the Stock Market
It’s not a career choice for the faint-hearted, but it’s worked for Marcello Arrambide, who quit his job in 2009 to travel the world working as a day trader on the stock market via phone and internet. Since then he has visited over 80 countries across all seven continents, and his career not only funds his travels but also earns him a healthy income. “I consider myself the luckiest person in the world to have complete freedom,” he says. “Location freedom, time freedom and financial freedom.”Take a Workation
If you want the best of both worlds, and your job is mainly phone and computer based, why not transfer it to another part of the world every once in a while? It works for independent entrepreneur Vanessa Van Edwards and her husband, a marketing manager, who started asking themselves why they were tied to the same office every day when modern technology allows them to do their jobs from anywhere in the world.
Vanessa explains, “We set out to find a way to develop our careers while travelling the world – and without breaking the bank.” Armed with their laptops and mobile phones, they set off for their first “workation”, and today they have taken their virtual office to 24 different locations around the world.
Or You Could…
- Teach. Teaching English as a Foreign Language can be a great way of experiencing life in other countries, and you don’t need to speak the local language in order to do so.
- Freelance. If you have a skill, particularly one that’s all or part of your job back home, you can offer your services as a freelancer while you travel. This can work especially well if you are a hairdresser, personal trainer or beauty therapist, as there are always openings for these jobs in hotels. Otherwise, make as many friends as you can in the area, as word-of-mouth references go a long way. Plus there are plenty of freelance opportunities advertised online,especially in digital.
- Work in the Travel Industry. All tour operators employ holiday reps on a seasonal basis, which will keep you in one location for around six months, so it’s ideal if you have an idea of where you want to go. There are also usually plenty of openings for bar and waiting-on staff in holiday resorts and on cruise ships.
Find destinations that are cheap to live, South East Asia for example. You want to find dirt cheap rentals which will be your main expense.
Make sure you have a reserve fund in case things go wrong, having an accident while drunk for example may invalidate your travel insurance!
Try and build a variety of income streams in case one drys up. You really don’t want to go home early!
Don’t listen to anyone who says you are ‘just escaping’ – travel is the most rewarding thing you can possibly do with your life.
Dubbed the Elbflorenz (“Florence on the Elbe River”), Dresden is one of Germany’s most beautiful and historically interesting cities. Dresden is the capital of Saxony, a state in the former East Germany. Though heavily bombed by the allies in 1945, much of Dresden’s opulent baroque architecture has been restored, which is juxtaposed with classic GDR-era buildings.
The city is divided into two main districts, the Altstadt (Old City) and Neustadt (New City), which both have their own very distinct flavor and flair. Because Dresden is located halfway between Berlin and Prague, it’s an easy stop for tourists on their way to these two European hot spots. But make no mistake: This city is well worth a visit on its own.
We’ve gathered some budget travel tips here for your trip to Dresden, including plenty of ways to save on your visit.Getting there
Dresden International Airport is located north of the city. The fastest and cheapest way to reach the city from the airport is to take the S2 line S-Bahn train right into Dresden — you’ll reach the main train station in a little over 20 minutes.
Dresden also has two major train stations, Dresden-Neustadt and Dresden Hauptbahnhof, which are separated by the Elbe River. As you might guess, the station Dresden-Neustadt is located in Neustadt, the district to the north of the Elbe river. Dresden Hauptbahnhof (main train station) is in the Altstadt, Dresden’s impressive old town to the south of the Elbe river.
Save with the bus: If you’re coming from somewhere else in Germany, one of the cheapest ways to reach Dresden is by bus. The bus company Flixbus, for example, offers one-way tickets between Berlin and Dresden for as low as €9 per person.
Like most cities in Germany, Dresden has a great public transportation system. Buses, trams (called Strassenbahn in German) and trains will take you anywhere you want to go, day or night — though fewer options will be available in the wee hours. To map out your trip from point a to point b, you can take a look at the website of the DVB, Dresden’s transportation service.
Save with day tickets: If you’re planning to travel to several different destinations in the city, you’ll save if you buy a day ticket. These tickets cost €6 for a single person or €9 for a family ticket. If you’re traveling with other people besides the family, you’ll save even more: Small group day tickets cost only €15 for up to five people for the day’s travel.
Still, nothing is cheaper than relying on your own two feet. Luckily, Dresden is a very walkable city, so, unless you end up wearing out a pair of shoes, this is the most frugal option.Altstadt
Once home to the King of Saxony and a handful of Electors, Dresden’s Altstadt is the city’s biggest draw —and for good reason. Dresden’s old town was known as the Jewel Box because of the baroque and rococo buildings in its city center, and many have been restored to their former glory.
The most famous of these include:
- the Dresdener Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady), which remained a ruin in memory of the war until it was restored in 2005
- the Royal Palace
- Semper Opera House
- Neumarkt and Altmarkt Square
But you won’t only find Baroque buildings here: Many early Renaissance and 19th-century buildings are also located in the Altstadt, making it a dream come true for any architecture buff.Tips on how to save in the Altstadt
Eat elsewhere: If you get hungry while touring the Altstadt, try to pop into a bakery or a grocery store to pick up a snack. Many of the restaurants in the area are tourist-quality (read: mediocre) and overpriced. You’ll definitely get a better bargain for your buck outside this tourist zone.
Welcome Card: For any culture lovers, Dresden has a lot to offer, with palaces and museums galore. If you think you’d like to spend a day or two traipsing through these fine sights, you might want to look into buying a Dresden Welcome Card. The two-day Dresden Museum Card will give you free admission to 14 different museums for €22. If you’re not planning to hit up a long list of museums, however, you might just want to stick to the day tickets for public transit, as they also offer discounts on admission, and cost less.
Last-minute reduced price opera tickets: In the mood for some high opera melodrama in the absolutely gorgeous Semperoper, but not looking to dig deep into your pockets? Check out the box office shortly before the scheduled performance. If you get lucky, they may still have some remaining tickets for a fraction of the price.Neustadt
Neustadt is made up of two main areas: Innere (inner) Neustadt, also known as the Baroque Quarter, and Äußere (outer) Neustadt. With its baroque facades and high fashion shopping miles, like Königstraße, Innere Neustadt is the closest in spirit to the Altstadt, but with more dining choices.
But Äußere Neustadt is where you’ll find Dresden’s nightlife. With an arty edge favored by students and the creatively inclined, Äußere Neustadt is where the freaks come out at night in the best sense of the word; a reputation the neighborhood also enjoyed during GDR times. Although the district has since become more gentrified, it is still Dresden’s best place for bar hopping, great restaurants and cafes, and funky little boutiques.
Our tip: Save the sightseeing for the Altstadt and Innere Neustadt, but hang out and grab a bite to eat here at night.Hotels in Dresden
Dresden has dozens of budget accommodations available. Private rooms at hostels start as low as $40 per night, but 3-star hotels with great perks can easily be had for under $100 for a double room right in the city center. Search over 250 hotels in Dresden on EuroCheapo.
It is no secret that the Phillippines is absolutely stunningly gorgeous and diverse and has basically anything you could ever want. The some 7000+ islands that make up this archipelago are all unique in their own way.
Most talked about is Boracay, home to arguably the world’s best beach, a great night life, and a level of relaxation virtually unmatched. But I am here to give you the run down on another, much less developed or explored island in the Phillippines, Palawan.
During my trip to the Phillippines a few years back, my friends and I had a little over two weeks so instead of trying to see as much as humanly possible, we opted to choose two islands to focus on: Boracay and Palawan.
Palawan is home to an UNESCO World Heritage site: the Underground River that takes you through an insane cave system, but the island has far more beauty than just this site and I can’t wait to take you on a tour!Practical Info Getting There
The Phillippines, in general, are easily accessible via most airlines in the region. To get to Palawan, you’ll need to fly into Puerto Princesa which is accessible via daily flights with Phillippines Airlines, Air Asia, Cebu Pacific, Air Phillippines and Zest Air for under $50 USD one way.
There are weird small terminal fees to pay in Puerto Princessa and many other small airports in the Phillippines so be aware of that.
I had a great experience with Phillippines Air because I was actually stranded on Palawan during a typhoon and they were great about notifying us about our cancelled flight and rebooking us as soon as possible.
It is also possible to take a ferry from Manila, although it will be a multi-day journey and could be very uncomfortable according to rumors. Just a thought for those looking for an alternative to flying all over the country.Costs
The Phillippines is still relatively cheap. In Puerto Princesa, we had no problem finding a private room for $10 per person. In El Nido, again, found a room for 3 people for $10 each with a stunning view of the ocean.
Food can be as cheap or expensive as you’d like. Typical Filipino meals will run you under $5 and western style can be $10 and up.
Tuk-tuks around town are usually under a $1 or so.Puerto Princesa
The capital of the island and home to the Underground River, not many travellers spend much time in this city, but it’s worth a couple days for the day tours that you can take.
It’s easy to spend a lot of money on a hotel in Puerto Princesa but just look around for a guesthouse with good reviews and it should suit you just fine. We stayed in a couple different ones and had great experiences in each one. You can certainly find a bed for $10-$15 per night.
To book tours, every hotel & guesthouse uses the same companies, you can look up typical costs at the time of your visit to ensure you are getting the right deal.
Honda Bay: You need to book this the day before, as the departure time is early in the morning but it is a CAN’T MISS tour. Included in the excursion is an open water snorkel session which is fantastic with some great coral action, a stop on a sinking island which means it is underwater at high tide making for perfect breeding ground for starfish and therefore sand dollars, and finish the day off on the luxurious retreat island of Cowrie that is straight out of a dream. The tour shouldn’t set you back more than 1000-1500P.
Underground River: This one may be good to book two days in advance if you can. I don’t know a lot about the tour, as I tried to go two days in a row but because of the elevated tides from the typhoon in the area, we were unable to enter. Again, this tour shouldn’t set you back more than 1500P.
When it comes to eating in Puerto Princesa go to Balinsasayaw. I ate here more than I care to admit, but it is the absolutely best BBQ you’ve ever had in your life. And for $3 USD for a plate of chicken or pork and garlic rice, it’s a great deal! It’s located right on Rizal Avenue. There are many street vendors and small hole in the wall spots and pretty much every chain restaurant imaginable so you’ll have plenty to choose from.El Nido
To get to El Nido, you can book a shuttle/van for around 600P or a get a public bus for 350-450P. If you get carsick easily, this is not going to be an enjoyable 5-6 hour ride for you. The roads are very windy and speed is not a concern for the drivers.
Once in El Nido, skip the guesthouses and hostels outside of town and either book a room in advance or walk around within the town center and find a deal. Most places don’t book up and aren’t listed online so this is a great place to find a spot in the center of town for cheap by walking around.
Once in El Nido, enjoy the beach! Both the beach in town and the neighboring beaches are great places to explore. Highly recommend Marimeg beach for the sunset and the zipline! It actually takes you from one island to the other!
Island hopping tours from El Nido are wildly popular. Coron is the most well-known, especially for its world-class diving which features many sunken Japanese warships.
You should also check out either of the lagoons in the region, they make a great day trip as well if you’re sick of relaxing on a beach. Is that possible?
Do not miss a meal at the Art Café! They feature a daily rotating menu, daily specials, GREAT live music and some of the friendliest, most helpful owners ever. This is a great place to book tours, relax for an afternoon, and pick the brains of some of the areas longest expat inhabitants. Skip the restaurants right near the beach entrance and go down the road to the left for a few places with excellent risotto!
At night, head to the beach and follow the music to the reggae bar where you can sip a rum and coke ($0.50 as opposed to a gin and tonic for $3!) while dancing in the soft waves breaking. It’s pretty much the only hotspot in town, so it’s a great place to run into familiar faces.Extras
Filipinos are known for their charming disposition and eagerness to help, please don’t take advantage of them. Bargain, because that is the Southeast Asian way but pay them a fair price. Treat them with respect and understand that most are well-versed in English.
Stock up on cash while in Puerto Princessa. I believe El Nido now has an ATM but the functionality of it may be sparse.
As you can see there’s plenty to do and see in Palawan, when are you booking your next trip there?
I’m still away on maternity leave and the guest post parade continues. This week we are talking about a country I’ve never been to, but find super interesting: the Philippines.
Here’s what I know about the Philippines:
- It’s really hard to spell for some reason.
- It’s supposed to have really interesting food and nice beaches.
- It’s a seriously overlooked part of SE Asia.
Hopefully I will make it there some day, but until then, here are two guest posts, by Megan and Richelle Gamlan, on this interesting part of the world.