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Paris: 8 ways to save on the Metro, buses and taxis

EuroCheapo via rss - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 06:38

Heading to Paris soon? Read on for some simple tips on ways to save time and money on getting around Paris. After all, in Paris there are far more interesting things to spend your money on than the Metro…

Our guide to saving in Paris

• All Paris articles
• Saving on Paris transportation
• Best budget hotels in Paris
• 10 Costly mistakes that tourists make in Paris

1. Buy Métro tickets in bulk

We’ve covered this before (including in our post on 50 Do’s & Don’ts in Paris that will improve your trip), but it’s worth repeating. If you’re relying on the Métro, bus, or tram for transportation, think ahead and buy those tickets in bulk. Single ride tickets in Paris, known as “t+” tickets, cost €1.80 and can be used for one ride on any bus, tram, Métro, or express train (RER) within the city limits.

However, it is definitely better to buy a bundle of 10 single ride tickets, known as a carnet (“carn-nay”), rather than buying them one at a time. Carnets, which are priced at €14.10 each, result in a 20% savings off the single ride price. Read more tips about riding the Métro like a local.

With unlimited rides, a Navigo pass can be very helpful for a longer trip to Paris. Photo Emily J.

2. Consider a Navigo Pass if you plan to ride a lot

If you’re staying in Paris for at least a week and plan to use the Parisian transportation system extensively, the unlimited weekly pass, called the “Navigo Pass”, could make your trip more budget friendly. It costs €21.25 and can be purchased at any Metro station window. However, you must also purchase the physical card itself, which costs €5, and is reusable.

The Navigo is an electronic chip card that you swipe on a turnstile, and it provides weekly or monthly unlimited rides on all Paris transportation options — everything from the Métro to the bus to the RER commuter rails. But while it’s a deal for some, this card could be more of a hassle than a convenience for others.

Read more about the pros and cons of Navigo passes, and how to buy one.

3. Staying in the suburbs? The Navigo Pass probably makes sense

If you’re staying outside of the Paris center, you’ll likely save a bundle on your hotel costs (for example, at these 14 hotels in the nearby suburbs), but with prices that range from €2.75 to €8 for a one-way ticket to central Paris from the suburbs, the RER commuter rail can get pricey if you buy single ride tickets.

However, things are much cheaper when you use a Navigo pass, which offers travelers commuting to Paris savings from a few cents to a few euros depending on their location. This is because in 2015 the city of Paris decided to charge a flat fee for Navigo passes across all five Métro zones. So no matter how far from the center you are, you’re always charged the same rate of €21.25 per week.

Staying outside the city center but not sure what train zone you’re in? Find the nearest RER stop on this Paris zone map.

A map of the RER system in Paris.

4. Don’t judge distances by the Metro map

The Paris Métro map can be deceptive. Distances between stations all look relatively uniform on the map, but vary greatly on the ground. In fact, there are a lot of stops that are only a two- to four-minute walk from each other — which means in some cases you could get to your destination quicker (and cheaper!) on your own two feet.

Save on unnecessary trips by looking at a non-Metro map. For example, keep a copy of this modified Métro map on your smartphone or in your pocket. It indicates how long it takes to walk to each Métro station. This map, created by professional transport planner Guillaume Martinetti, shows the real distance of how close (or far) Metro stops are from each other.

Riding a Velib’ bike through Paris. Photo Kim

5. Hop on a bike

Renting a bike is as cheap as the Métro in Paris, €1.80 for 30 minutes (and cheaper for day- and week-long passes), thanks to a bike share program called Velib’. In addition to being dirt cheap, biking around the city allows you to get to where you want to go while sightseeing and exercising at the same time. Gazing at famous streets, buildings, and parks is easy and fun while you’re pedaling along.

Related: Updates on Vélib prices, parking, and station locations

Keep in mind, however, that although there are some nice bike routes, there are also some streets without designated bike lanes. To check and see if riding a bike is a safe option, take a look at where you’re staying and where you’d like to go on this Velib’ map. Bike-only lanes are featured in turquoise while lanes shared by both bikes and buses are in pink.

6. If you’re under 26, save with the “Ticket Jeune Weekend”

When it comes to getting discounts, young people visiting Paris have it pretty good. Not only can you receive discounts on museum admission, but also on transportation. The Ticket Jeune, which can be bought at any Métro, bus, or tram station ticket window, allows anyone under the age of 26 daily unlimited rides on the Parisian transport network over the weekend. This includes rides on the Métro, on the bus, on trams, and on the RER, the commuter express train network.

For zones 1 to 3, which covers the metropolitan area and a bit of the suburbs, you’ll pay €3.85 per day. That’s a little more than two single ride tickets, so it’s definitely worth it if you know you’ll be using the transportation system more than twice in a day, or if you’re staying outside the city center in zone 3, where single ride prices are €2.75 each. But keep in mind that this discount is only available on Saturday and Sunday.

“Hey, Taxi!” Hailing a taxi in Paris. Photo Milo E.

7. Hail a taxi during the weekday

While public transportation in Paris is much cheaper than hopping in a cab, there will be times when you need to get home from an out of the way location or late at night. Another scenario? You need to haul yourself, two kids, and luggage to the airport in time for your flight. Sometimes taking a car in Paris is just worth it.

For daytime travel within Paris between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm, Monday through Saturday, a taxi (at €0.82 per kilometer) is cheaper than an Uber ride. However, keep in mind that there’s a minimum charge of €5.60 for any taxi ride, and €1 is added to your charge for every item over 5 kg you bring with you in the car.

Read more on cost saving tips on taking taxis in Paris, and take a look at EuroCheapo’s primer on taxis in the central Paris area.

8. …Or order an Uber at other times

If you take a taxi at other times (nighttime, early morning and Sundays) and/or you’re planning to travel outside the central Paris area, you can be charged up to €1.33 per kilometer. In this case, Uber Paris presents a few options that might be slightly cheaper. Uber options are as follows:

  • The UberX service is €1 per kilometer with a €5 minimum ride. UberX cars are usually mid-range vehicles that are advertised as no frills rides.
  • Uber Berline, at €1.55 per kilometer and a €15 minimum charge, is more typical of an airport limousine service and uses high-end cars.
  • There’s also the way more roomy UberVan service, featuring — you guessed it, vans — at €1.55 per kilometer and a €12 minimum charge.
  • Finally, and most cheaply, consider taking advantage of the UberPool program, which can knock the typical price of a journey down by €10 to €20  as long as you’re willing to share the car with another passenger or two.

A service that doesn’t exist in France anymore is Uberpop, the cheapest of the Uber services, which consisted of independent contractors who used their own cars to give rides and who did not have taxi licenses. It was banned at the end of 2015 by the French government because the drivers were unregulated.

While UberX and UberPool are a little less expensive than the traditional taxi, it can be hard to order an Uber without a smartphone. If you run into data issues and either didn’t bring or can’t use your smartphone, then a traditional taxi makes the most sense.

Your tips

Have more suggestions about ways to save on getting around Paris? Share with us below!

The post Paris: 8 ways to save on the Metro, buses and taxis appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Excursions on Italy's Liguria Coast: Cinque Terre

Travel Tips and Destinations - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 05:13
Cinque Terre... A Fair Weather Friend... The Cinque Terre (Five Lands) is a collection of five hillside villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are part of the Cinque Terre National Park and have the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of Italy's most beautiful and colorful collection of picture perfect villages embedded in the cliffs overlooking the Ligurian Sea.

Classic Summer Lodges in North America

Travel Tips and Destinations - Fri, 04/29/2016 - 14:00
It is summer time again, this time you are doing it in North America. It is the favorite time of the year when you get to know exactly what it means to spend memorable moments with family. What would make it more memorable than spending your nights in the best resorts in North America? In your travel budget, do not forget to include classic summer lodges in North America; they are not expensive, just pocket friendly prices. Whether you are travelling alone or as a family, there is perfect accommodation waiting for you. There are resorts which double as lodges that will offer you the comfort you deserve.

The Global Travel Conspiracy, Episode 39 – The National Park Service

Everything Everywhere via rss - Fri, 04/29/2016 - 09:39
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This week I talk about the National Park service and its 100th anniversary. I also talk about my project to visit every national park in the United States and Canada.

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Tips for visiting Neuschwanstein Castle

EuroCheapo via rss - Fri, 04/29/2016 - 07:51

A trip to Neuschwanstein Castle is on the bucket list of many a European traveler. Nestled away in the Bavarian Alps about a two-hour drive south from Munich, this castle was one of several built by the eccentric Bavarian king Ludwig II, also known as “Mad King” Ludwig.

If its white, limestone façade and fairy tale turrets immediately make you think “Disney”, there is a reason – Walt Disney fashioned Sleeping Beauty’s castle after Neuschwanstein, just one of the reasons why it is among the most popular castles in the world.

Here are some tips for maximizing your experience at this unforgettable sight.

Getting to Neuschwanstein Castle

The castle is located at Neuschwansteinstraße 20, Schwangau, Germany. Some tips for arriving:

By car

If you’re driving, you can take the A7 autobahn (direction Ulm-Kempten-Füssen) to the end and then head towards Füssen. From Füssen, you get on the B17 to Schwangau, following the signs to Hohenschwangau.

Another option is to get off the A7 at the Kempten exit and drive the B12 to Marktoberdorf. From there, get on the B16 to Roßhaupten – OAL I to Buching – and then on the B17 to Schwangau and Hohenschwangau.

Save on parking: If you opt to drive to Neuschwanstein, you can usually find free parking along the forest road about 900 feet south of the touristy area in the village Hohenschwangau.

Related: Need a rental car? Reserve well in advance to get the best deals. Search for your dates here.

Taking the train? Get off at cute-as-a-button-Füssen. Photo: ho visto nina volare

By train

One of the best ways to reach Neuschwanstein is by train from Munich to the village of Füssen. The ride takes about two and a half hours and will give you a lovely view of the picturesque Allgäu countryside.

Once in Füssen, you need to take Bus 73 to “Steingaden Feuerwehrhaus” or Bus 78 to “Tegelbergbahn, Schwangau”. The bus stop you’ll need to disembark is “Hohenschwangau, Schlösser”.

Tip: Save on your train trip with the Bavaria ticket

The normal round-trip train ticket from Munich costs €58, including the bus fare. However, you can save if you buy a Bavaria ticket. This ticket offers one-day unlimited travel on Bavaria’s local transportation, including buses and trams. The ticket costs €23 and is ideal for groups of travelers: If one person in the group has purchased the Bavaria ticket, up to four travelers can go along with them for a mere €5 each.

Furthermore, children 15 and under travel free when traveling with parents or grandparents.

Learn about the Mad King as you make the walk up to the castles. Photo: luizcontreira

How to reach the castle(s)

Once you’ve reached Hohenschwanngau, you still need to get up to the castles – in plural because Hohenschwangau, a terra cotta colored castle built by Ludwig’s father, is right across from Neuschwanstein. Your options include hoofing it or taking the bus.

In our opinion, the best – and cheapest – option for outdoorsy and fit travelers is to walk. You’ll see signs warning of steep trails and a 40-minute walk but, in reality, most fit travelers can manage the trek in about half that time. The walk takes you along paved paths through the forest, and signs along the way offer interesting reading about the history and intrigue (as well as shenanigans) of the Mad King. With a little luck, you may even see a lone stag traipsing through the woods, making it just about the most romantic experience ever.

Those not in the mood for the work out should opt for the bus ride up the hill, which will only set you back €1.80. (You can always take a more leisurely stroll back down the trail afterward.) Note that buses don’t run when there’s ice and snow.

Entering Neuschwantstein. (Hopefully everyone remembered their tickets!) Photo: aoifecahill

Tickets to visit the castles

The price is €12 per castle or €23 for both. Kids 18 and under are free if accompanied by a paying adult.

The time of your tour will be listed on the ticket, so be sure you don’t arrive late. It’s a one-time opportunity, folks. If you miss your tour, you’ll have to pay again.

Make sure you have your ticket before you reach the castle. Tickets can only be purchased at the ticket counter in Hohenschwangau or reserved online in advance for a small fee. The address of the ticket center is:

Alpseestraße 12, D-87645 Hohenschwangau
Telephone +49 (0) 83 62 – 9 30 83 – 0
Fax +49 (0) 83 62 -9 30 83 – 20
Online reservations

But, here’s the big question: Do you even need to visit the castles’ interiors?

In our opinion, the answer is: not really. Entrance is by guided tour only and the tour guides take you through the rooms at break-neck speed and you’re not allowed to take photographs. The castles are most beautiful from the outside anyway, and will give you plenty of gorgeous vistas and photo ops for Facebook and Instagram envy.

Neuschwantstein is also beautiful (and easier) to visit during the winter. Photo: wavecult

Tip: If you can, go off season

Neuschwanstein boasts 1.4 million visitors a year, and most of them come during the summer. If you do visit at this time, be prepared for long waits at the ticket counter and streams of tourists marching through old Ludwig’s palace – in the peak season, up to 6,000 pass through each day. Thus, if visiting during the summer, arrive as early as possible to beat the crowds. High season hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

But if you hold off your trip until, say, February, you’re likely to have the place almost to yourself. But don’t get there too late in the off-season: From mid-October to mid-March, the castles are only open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Nearby hotels

As noted above, many visitors to Neuschwanstein make the journey down from Munich. If you plan to do the same, here are some budget-friendly hotels in Munich that we recommend. However, there are many hotel options in Schwangau, as well. Search your dates for Schwangau here.

The post Tips for visiting Neuschwanstein Castle appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Things You Must Think About When Looking Up Holiday Destinations

Travel Tips and Destinations - Fri, 04/29/2016 - 06:15
Planning a holiday might take you months and sometimes even years and when the time finally comes for you to go, you want to get the most enjoyable holiday ever. The choice of destination will largely determine the kind of experience you have and with so many possible destinations, you definitely must take time to select the best. You can get destination ideas online, but the final decision will really depend on your personal holiday preferences; you must think about the destination at a deeper level to choose the most suitable for your holiday.

Best Places to Shop in Dubai

Travel Tips and Destinations - Fri, 04/29/2016 - 06:11
Dubai is truly one of the best emerging destinations for tourists in the last few years. The number of tourists who travel to Dubai considerably grew in the last couple of years. In fact the city, and the whole nation of the United Arab Emirates, have notably developed in quite a short period of time.

April 2016 Updates

Twenty-Something Travel via rss - Fri, 04/29/2016 - 06:10

Hey guys!

It’s been a pretty great month, spent entirely here in Seattle. I’m blowing up like a balloon (the picture above is me at 22 weeks taken mid-month so I’m even bigger now), but I feel fantastic. Things are definitely starting to seem a lot more real around here! Mike and I have been doing lots of research and glamorous stuff like trying out strollers and planning our travel-themed nursery.

We’ve been doing lots of stuff around town like Sounder’s games and market visits. The highlight was this trip out to the tulip fields in Mount Vernon. No real trips on the horizon but still have a ton to write up about Iceland, Japan and traveling while pregnant.

On a related note I really appreciated all of your well wishes and thoughtful comments on my pregnancy announcement post earlier this month. It gave me a lot to think about in regards to the future of this blog. I think there will be some major changes here before the end of the year.

Personal Writing

My second article for Alaska Airlines came out this week:

How to Make the Most of a Stopover in Iceland– Alaska Airlines

3 Wellness Travel Ideas to Help You Recharge– TripIt

Good Reads

Why I Flew to Another Continent for Medication (And How You Can too)– Indecisive Traveler– It really says something about the state of healthcare in the US that this is a viable option.

Where Pregnant Ladies Can Travel and Avoid Zika in the Americas– Almost Fearless– Good resource for pregnant travel lovers.

The Truth About Traveling Solo… I’m Over It– Paper Planes– A dose of honesty about the downsides of solo travel.

When I Was Assaulted Abroad, Here Are the Steps I Took to Heal Myself– Wanderful– Dark but powerful stuff.

Should I be Mad that they Want to Take my Picture Because I’m Black?– Oneika the Traveller– A unique phenomenon to traveling in Asia.

Why I Don’t Buy SIM Cards When I Travel– Expat Edna– Maybe we don’t need to be connected ALL the time.

What’s the Best Thing You’ve Read This Month?

April 2016 Updates is a post from Twenty-Something Travel

Historical Mosques in Iran

Travel Tips and Destinations - Fri, 04/29/2016 - 06:09
Iran is among the nations that have a long rich history of civilization. More than 2,000 years ago, the Persian Empire used to dominate a huge section of the old world. These civilizations together with the Islamic establishments attract several tourists to spend their vacations in Iran.

5 Tips for Buying the Best Las Vegas Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 18:00
Planning to do a Las Vegas Grand Canyon helicopter ride. There are quite a few options out there, and that's why it will benefit you to review these top 5 tour-shopping tips. Learn more. Read this article.

Amazing Las Vegas Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours On Memorial Day

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 18:00
Memorial Day holiday weekend will soon be here. If you are planning to do a Grand Canyon helicopter tour from Las Vegas, NV, or South Rim, AZ, you need to consider booking your flight now. Read this article and learn why.

Best Shopping Places in Dubai

Travel Tips and Destinations - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 12:51
Divided into two parts, the commercial area includes the old souks of Deira and Dubai souk in Bur Dubai, and the colorful and new shopping centers around Beniyas Square and Al-Hiyafa Road. Dubai Mall - This mall is located adjacent to the largest building in the world, Burj-Khalifa and the grounds outside is really beautiful. In the commercial center of Dubai, we can find a site where you can find many restaurants, from fast food restaurants such as Burger King restaurants, a food court and McDonald's, up to pizzerias, Lebanese food.

Planning a Splendid Holiday to Rome

Travel Tips and Destinations - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 09:58
Rome is a spectacular destination to travel to. Here is a guide to plan your trip to the city wisely and not make the mistakes most travelers end up making!

Why Should You Visit South Africa in 2016?

Travel Tips and Destinations - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 09:22
Have you ever dreamt of exploring destinations in Africa and discovering the secrets of this unexploited regions of the world? Many travel experts believe that many travelers would be booking tours to South Africa in 2016. There are many reasons behind this assumption.

How to Travel on a Budget in the Caribbean

Twenty-Something Travel via rss - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 09:12

The Caribbean doesn’t initially seem like the easiest place to travel on a budget. Costs vary from island to island, of course, but on many of the most accessible islands, there aren’t a ton of hostels or cheap apartment rentals, activities tend to be pricey and the same goes for dining out. Here are a few tips for making travel in the Caribbean a little more affordable.

Bring the Essentials

When I was traveling in Southeast Asia, the advice I consistently received was to under-pack because I could easily pick up anything I needed once I was there. The Caribbean is kind of the opposite. While you can definitely find pretty much anything you might need, almost everything is much more expensive than it would be at home because it has to be imported. I try to bring extra supplies of things like sunscreen, insect repellent, and deodorant — all things I’ve had to buy on various trips and all of which were much pricier than I was expecting.

I also like to pack a bunch of granola bars and instant oatmeal packages – they don’t take up that much room in my luggage but they often save me a lot of money on breakfasts and snacks.

 Don’t Buy Anything Near the Cruise Ship Terminal

Every island I’ve visited so far has a cruise ship terminal, where ships dock and passengers are unloaded for a few hours to explore what they can of the island. Avoiding shopping and dining in the neighborhoods around these terminals is both obvious and not so obvious advice.

On one hand, it’s logical that prices would be marked up near cruise ship terminals. Hundreds of passengers arrive in these areas every day, ready to eat and buy souvenirs but with limited time to shop around for the best prices. On the other hand, these neighborhoods are also often where the action is — lots of buzzing shops and restaurants, and sometimes a great beach — so it’s kind of natural to head there. I know I did at first, until I realized that prices were significantly marked up in these areas compared to almost everywhere else.

Beyond higher prices, I find restaurants near cruise ship terminals are often geared towards finicky tourist palettes and the arts and handicrafts sold here generally have a mass produced feel. Basically, you’re paying more, but the quality of what you’re getting is often lower than what you’d find elsewhere.

Invest in Accommodation with a Kitchen

The price of meals on most islands continues to blow my mind. It’s possible to find cheap local fare on some islands, but even with some research, I often had trouble finding entrees for less than $20 USD on islands like Aruba and Grand Cayman. Thus, choosing accommodation where you can cook some meals at “home” can be a huge money-saver.

Groceries are often pricey too, unfortunately, but I found I could put that same $20 towards cooking at least a day’s worth of food, rather than a single meal at a restaurant. Similar to most other regions, it’s much cheaper to dine out at lunch, so I usually eat a few restaurant lunches but cook breakfasts and dinners myself.

Hostels with common kitchens are an awesome option if you can find one, but AirBnBs and other vacation rentals are far more common – better still, if you’re traveling with some friends and can split the cost of a two- or three-bedroom villa or house.

Know the Tipping Etiquette

When you do dine out, take a close look at your bill or do a little research into tipping etiquette beforehand. On a number of islands, such as St. Martin/St. Maarten, a service charge is automatically added onto your bill along with the tax, so you don’t need to leave an extra tip.

Additionally, a 10% tip is often acceptable for service people, rather than the 15-20% tip most Canadians and Americans are used to. It’s worth finding out when and how much it’s appropriate to tip to avoid overpaying (or being cheap when you should be tipping).

How to Travel on a Budget in the Caribbean is a post from Twenty-Something Travel