The Future of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 Aircraft

Last October 29, a flight operated by the Indonesian carrier Lion Air crashed into the sea, killing everyone on board. On March 10 of this year, an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff. Everyone on board both planes (a total of 346 passengers and crew) perished.

The incidents had several things in common. In both cases, there were inexperienced pilots or co-pilots (Lion Air had a reputation for this). Prior to both crashes, the pilots were unable to keep the plane steady as it nosedived to the ground. And in both cases, the plane was an almost-new 737 MAX 8 manufactured by Boeing.

All MAX 8 flights worldwide were halted one week after the Ethiopian Airlines crash. Boeing determined that the problem was caused by a sensor failure in the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), a new system unique to the MAX 8. Boeing began work on a software fix for the plane, even as accusations abounded: blame was leveled at the manufacturer, the FAA, the airlines and just about everyone in sight. Boeing eventually took responsibility for the crashes, and they also discovered a second software flaw that complicated the process of fixing the 737 MAX.

As of this writing, the plane has not been re-certified as airworthy and no firm date has been set for its return to the skies (American recently canceled all 737 MAX flights through January 15). Let’s look at consumers’ most frequently asked questions about the plane:

Is the 737 MAX the same as the regular 737? Not at all. The regular 737-800 is an older and much safer plane (in fact, the 737 is the largest-selling commercial airliner ever made, and there are many different models). There are four versions of the 737 MAX: the 7, 8, 9 and 10.

Who flies the 737 MAX? Boeing says it has delivered 350 of the aircraft to 46 airlines. There were 69 in service in the U.S. at the time of grounding, mostly in the Southwest (31) and American Airlines (22) fleets; Air Canada was operating 20 of the planes as well.

When will the aircraft be back in service? At this point, no one knows. Airlines were first confident the planes would be ready for the summer travel season; when that didn’t happen, projections shifted to the fall. As noted above, the most optimistic scenario now is January. When (and if) it happens, we can be reasonably certain that the fixes on the aircraft will have been tested to the point of exhaustion.

Could an airline sneak a 737 MAX into the schedule out of desperation? Absolutely not. At least, not without risking fallout so large that it might put the company out of business.

How has this affected airline schedules? Naturally, the biggest effects have been felt at American and Southwest. AA has been forced to cancel 140 flights per day, and they estimate their total losses at $140 million. The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association recently sued Boeing, alleging that the company “deliberately misled” them about the 737 Max. Southwest claims that they have cancelled more than 30,000 flights since the plane was taken out of service, resulting in more than $100 million in lost wages for pilots.

What if I’m booking a flight and see the 737 MAX as the scheduled aircraft? Don’t panic—the schedule was probably drawn up during one of the periods when the airline was optimistic that the 737 MAX would return to the sky. What it might mean, though, is that your flight could possibly be canceled. The likelihood of cancellation depends largely on where the flight is originating. Flights departing from airline hubs are less likely to be canceled due to the availability of other aircraft close at hand; if you’re leaving from a remote location, you might not be so fortunate.

When the plane is re-certified, will it be safe to fly? As mentioned, the testing on the 737 MAX prior to re-certification is probably going to be extremely extensive, since everyone involved will be focused on avoiding further incidents. While the answer is almost certainly yes, it will be a matter of individual conscience. Like it or not, superstition will also enter into it, as will each person’s level of anxiety about flying. Thus far, market research has indicated that consumers are taking a “wait and see” attitude toward the aircraft, with many people saying they would wait at least six months before boarding one.

Safety aside, it’s best to remember that the 737 MAX can be an extremely uncomfortable plane. The Southwest version is relatively civilized, featuring between 32 and 33 inches of seat pitch in economy (the distance between a point on one seat and the same point on the seat in front of it); their regular 737-800 also has 32-33 inches. American is another story, with 30 inches of pitch on their 737 MAX—a tight squeeze even for a small person. The 737 MAX was designed as a high-density plane in the first place, and much depends on how many seats the airline wants to cram into it.

Source: frugal travel guy

Today is the Single Largest Shopping Day in the World, and You’ve Probably Never Heard of Why

It’s bigger than Prime Day. Bigger than Black Friday. Bigger than Cyber Monday. Come read why today is the biggest shopping day in the world.

The post Today is the Single Largest Shopping Day in the World, and You’ve Probably Never Heard of Why appeared first on Andy's Travel Blog.

Source: Andys travel blog

When Vacation Apartments Make More Sense Than a Hotel

vacation apartment rental in La Paz

The first time I went to Salt Lake City for a convention, I was in a crappy Econolodge motel with stained carpets, intermittent Wi-Fi, barely working heat, lukewarm hot water, and a lumpy bed. The next time I stayed in a pristine room with a heavenly mattress, in a craftsman bungalow house in a quiet […]

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Source: Cheapest Destinations

Everything You Need to Know About the Revamped Amex Green Card

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the American Express Green Card has received a major overhaul. Now called Green from Amex, it’s a very different type of product than it was just a few weeks before, and one that’s now competitive with the Chase Sapphire cards.

The Green Card was Amex’s signature offering for many years. From the time it was introduced in 1969, it had an aura of exclusiveness. It was sold as a travel and entertainment card for businessmen rather than a shopping card, and it had a strict set of acceptance criteria. It also came with an annual fee of $6 (roughly $40 in today’s money). The core of Amex’s business at the time was traveler’s cheques, and the Green Card enabled them to achieve a dominant position in the worlds of dining and travel. Over time, the Green Card was eclipsed by the glitzier Gold and Platinum offerings, and it was due for some changes.

Here’s what you need to know about the Green Card’s facelift:

It’s now a credit card, not a charge card: The Green Card always came with a requirement for members to settle their statements at the end of each month. This rule increased the card’s cache and narrowed its focus to the realm of business spending. Green from Amex will function as a revolving credit card, with interest rates ranging from 16.99% to 23.99% depending on your creditworthiness.

Even though you’ll have the option of carrying a balance doesn’t mean you should do it, as those interest charges add up in a hurry. The conventional wisdom is that you should only indulge in the points and miles hobby if you pay off your balances at the end of each month.

Annual fee: The fee increases from $95 to $150 annually, but it seems worth it given all the advantages of the new card.

Increased point earning: Green from Amex will now earn three Membership Rewards points in restaurants (both in the U.S. and overseas), travel (including flights, hotels, car rentals, travel agencies and tour operators) and transportation (taxis, buses, subways, tolls and rideshares). This is perhaps the most significant change of all, since it puts the card on a par with Chase Sapphire Reserve, which has an annual fee of $450.

Signup bonus: You receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points if you spend $2,000 within the first three months of card membership. Since those points are generally valued at a minimum of 1.5 cents each, that translates to a gain of at least $450 (there are some reports of a 45,000-point offer if you use the incognito mode on your browser). Membership Rewards points transfer to 19 airlines and three hotel reward programs.

You receive a credit of $100 per year toward the purchase of a CLEAR membership, which will grant quicker access to airports and stadiums (this compares favorably to the Global Entry and TSA PreCheck credits offered by the premium cards, as those only apply every four years). You also get a credit of $100 annually toward visits with LoungeBuddy. Until January 15, 2020, the card comes with a $100 statement credit toward purchases with AWAY, a company specializing in luggage and other travel accessories.

Additional perks: The card comes with car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary), baggage insurance (up to $500 for checked bag and $1,250 for carry-ons), access to the Global Assist Hotline for emergency travel assistance and the ability to pay for travel with Membership Rewards points. There are no foreign transaction fees.

Implications: Every time a major credit card is introduced or an existing one is significantly redesigned, it changes the overall picture for rewards cards. That’s definitely the case here.

We’ve mentioned the Chase Sapphire Reserve several times, and the comparison with Green from Amex is significant. The CSR is a high-end travel rewards card on a par with the Amex Platinum Card. Green from Amex now offers some of the key benefits of the CSR, such as triple points on dining and travel. It’s true that Green from Amex commands a much lower annual fee ($150 vs. $450), although the CSR also comes with a $300 annual travel credit that levels the playing field in that area. If you don’t need some of the additional benefits of the CSR, such as primary car rental insurance and enhanced lounge access, Green from Amex is going to be a much easier card to get.

The other major comparison is the new similarity between Green from Amex and the American Express Gold Card, which also went through a recent transformation. The annual fee on the Gold card is $250; it earns four points per dollar on global dining and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year), as well as triple points on airfare. The card offers a $100 airline credit and a $120 dining credit each year. Some of the other benefits are different as well, such as extended warranty, return and purchase protection. On close examination, though, the Gold card is still a step up from Green, although the major difference is the ability to earn points while grocery shopping.

Bottom Line: This is a bold move from American Express, and one which makes the entry-level Green from Amex far more valuable. It’s a great card for someone who travels and dines out frequently, and it has a number of worthwhile perks and benefits.

Source: frugal travel guy

Berlin: Avoid these 7 first-time tourist mistakes when visiting

These days, Berlin is by far one of Europe’s hottest cities. Tourists and expats alike flock to the metropolis for its vibrant nightlife, flourishing arts scene and hip vibe.

Compared to other major European cities, Berlin is also very affordable (at least for now). Like many visitors that came before, you may find yourself smitten and end up staying here far longer than you planned.

Related: 12 Easy ways to save on a trip to Berlin

But when you arrive in Germany’s capital, make sure and avoid the following rookie mistakes. Both your wallet and reputation as a cool, Berlin-worthy traveler will thank you for it.


Berlin mistakes to avoid on your first trip

Berlin Tourist

Guidebooks and tours are great, but don’t forget to visit the local neighborhoods to get a true sense of Berlin. Photo: Sjoerd

1. Only focusing on sights, not neighborhoods

Don’t get us wrong. Brandenburg Gate is lovely, Museum Island is picturesque and remnants of the Berlin Wall are both fascinating and historically important. See our guide about saving at Berlin’s top 10 attractions for more information.

Still, what makes Berlin “Berlin” are its incredibly diverse neighborhoods.

Hip yet gritty Neukölln, liberal and multicultural Kreuzberg, old-school West Berlin glamour in Charlottenburg, slick, design-minded Mitte and Prenzlauerberg — this is what makes Berlin truly unique. A stroll down these neighborhood streets is a must for any visitor.

Berlin is also incredibly spread out geographically. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not go even further off the beaten path and check out Soviet-style architecture in Lichtenberg or Marzahn or the posh villas in Zehlendorf or Wannsee. The possibilities are truly endless.

Berlin euros

Those euro coins will come in handy in Berlin. Many businesses only take cash. Photo: dskley

2. Not having enough cash on hand

Most restaurants and cafes still don’t accept credit cards. The same goes for many smaller shops and all street markets. Because of this, it’s important to always make sure you have enough cash on hand or ask if they accept cards before you order.

Related: 7 Ways to make your travel dollar ever stronger abroad

And speaking of cash… be sure to also keep an eye on your wallet in touristy areas or when riding the U-Bahn. Like any major city, you should always watch out for pickpockets.

Berlin Waiter

Tipping your friendly Berlin waiter is not required no matter how big the beers are. Photo: stawarz

3. Tipping American style

In Berlin, tipping is seen as an extra “danke”( “thank you”) for attentive, friendly service. If the service was lousy (sadly, this can often be the case in Berlin) it’s perfectly acceptable not to tip. Otherwise, you should always tip a maximum of 10%.

Most people just round up the bill. For example, if the bill was €4.30, you would give the waiter a five and tell them “stimmt so,” which translates loosely as “keep the change.” To prove you’re not an absolute greenhorn, be sure you always personally hand the tip to the waiter when paying the bill; it’s not customary to just leave it on the table.

Tiergarten

The Rose Garden at Tiergarten, a sprawling park in Berlin. Photo: dgeezer

4. Not checking out the green or the blue

Berlin is one of Europe’s greenest cities. The many parks are the best place to see locals at play. You’ll find parks in every neighborhood in many different shapes and sizes. Some examples of big parks are Tiergarten and Volkspark Friedrichshain and some which are “klein aber fein” (small but nice) are Körnerpark and Viktoria-Luise Platz.

Berlin also has a lot of water: with two major rivers and a system of canals, it actually has more bridges than Venice. Be sure and take a stroll along one of the many shores or a dip in a lake during the summer, both popular pastimes for many Berliners. Schlachtensee, Krumme Lanke and Strandbad Wannsee are all easy to reach by public transportation.

Related: Four great parks in Berlin for sunny weather

 

Currywurst

Definitely try the currywurst, but we don’t suggest eating it everyday! Photo: azriel100

5. Only eating traditional German food

Don’t get us wrong, we love a good currywurst or schnitzel. Especially when paired with a few steins of local bier at a lovely beer garden.

But Berlin also has a thriving scene filled with affordable cuisine from around the world. To get a taste of what locals eat in modern Berlin, you need to expand your palate and dive into the local restaurant scene. From hip vegetarian eateries to Asian restaurants, Berlin has a lot to offer.

Related: Simple tips to save when dining out in Berlin

Berlin Metro

Keep the lederhosen at home and don’t mind the stares when you step on the subway. Photo: frosch50

6. Taking the gruffness and staring too personally

Berliners pride themselves on being direct and never beating around the bush. Unfortunately, this “directness” can sometimes seem more like aggressive rudeness: It’s not uncommon to see a grandma yelling at someone for riding a bicycle on the sidewalk or two strangers cussing each other out so strongly it would get them seriously beat up in many other parts of the world.

But true Berliners are an outspoken, thick-skinned bunch. They don’t mean such things personally and also don’t take them personally. If you run into such a Berliner Schnauze on your trip, it’s best to keep your cool and maybe give them a little bit of attitude back. A sarcastic comment goes a long way, and they’ll respect you more for it.

Eye contact is also more socially acceptable than it is in the US, so don’t be unnerved if you find people staring at you. Maybe they’re admiring your shirt, wondering where you got that ham sandwich or are simply bored and you just happen to be sitting across from them. Either way, it’s unlikely they’re judging you or think you’re the hottest thing around. It’s just normal to stare, so feel free to stare back.

7. Wearing your dirndl and lederhosen

Although many visitors assume all of Germany is yodeling like crazy at Oktoberfest and constantly donning dirndl and lederhosen, these are actually traditions from the region of Bavaria (in the south of the country). Wearing a dirndl in Berlin would be the same as decking out in full cowboy regalia in Chicago.

Keep that lovely floral dirndl in your suitcase for a trip to Munich. If you wear it in Berlin, you’ll out yourself as a clueless tourist and people will definitely laugh at you.

What was your first trip to Berlin like?

Share your experiences (both good and bad!) in the comments below.

The post Berlin: Avoid these 7 first-time tourist mistakes when visiting appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo

France: How go wine tasting on a budget at world-class vineyards

If you’re anything like us, then you love the taste (and price!) of wine when you’re traveling in Europe. And it doesn’t get more French than sipping wine or Champagne on a café terrace anywhere in France or buying a bottle from your favorite wine shop in Paris.

For those who want to learn a little bit more about what’s in their glass, however, you needn’t look far, nor should you rack up a huge bill in doing so.

Skip the fancy tours and do what the French tourist do, heading directly to the source of the wine, whether it’s red, white, or bubbly.

More France tips for Cheapos:
The best SIM Cards to use in France
10-day France itinerary from Paris to Marseille
22 phrases every visitor to France should learn


Visiting French vineyards on a budget

From the vineyards of Bordeaux to the Champagne cellars around Epernay, it’s easy to experience the local wares in a unique way on your next trip to France.

AR Lenoble

AR Lenoble Champagne has been open since 1920. Photo: Facebook

Champagne

Sparkling white wine made anywhere else cannot dare call itself Champagne, and on a visit to a cellar somewhere in the region, east of Paris, you’ll learn why. The big houses like Pommery and Veuve-Clicquot offer standard visits and tastings, accessible directly from the train station in Reims.

For something even more special, there are smaller houses out there that you might want to explore.

Consider supporting family-run, independent Champagne makers like AR Lenoble who offer generous tastings and pairings in their center just outside Epernay, though you’ll need a car to get there! Tastings start around €35 — a good deal considering how pricey Champagne can be, and how good AR Lenoble’s is!

A vineyard in Bordeaux. Photo: Lizandro

Bordeaux

It’s perhaps the most well-known wine outside of France, but beyond the name, what do you actually know about it? Is a Bordeaux Supérieur better than a Médoc or a St-Emilion? So many questions!

Travel to this southwestern France city and you’ll realize that there are no vineyards to be seen within walking distance, and the idea of renting a car and driving out to visit them is doable, but not the cheapest option.

Fortunately, the tourism office offers trips to the vineyards and chateaus to learn all about it, with the most affordable starting at €42 for a bus ride and a half-day excursion to two properties, all in French and English.

It may seem like a touristy thing to do, but it’s one of the best ways to get out there and learn a bit en route. You could always attend the annual Marathon du Médoc if you really want to experience Bordeaux’s best wines while on the run, but that’s another level of dedication that you might not be ready for yet.

Related: Our favorite chap hotels in Bordeaux | Visiting Bordeaux on a budget

Wine Cellar Loire

A wine cellar in the Loire Valley. Photo: Alyse

Loire Valley

More known for its castles than its wine, the Loire Valley, just southwest of Paris, produces some of France’s most beloved wines like Chinon and Touraine. Many small producers in the area throw their doors wide open to tourists who want to visit and learn more about their vintages.

The office of tourism has a great resource for visitors — some translation needed on the site, sorry! You can reserve tastings, including pairings with cheeses, for mere euros. Try a wine you may have never tasted, like Vouvray, which also comes in a sparkling version that rivals Champagne!

Burgundy Vineyard

A picturesque vineyard in Burgundy. Photo: Aapo

Burgundy

Burgundy wines are known to be refined reds, but there are whites to discover as well! The Bourgogne region, southeast of Paris, boasts some of France’s most sought-after wines, and a visit to local vineyards between the towns of Dijon and Beaune are worth a stopover for any wine-lover.

Adventurous cheapos might want to hop the bus 113 that, for just €1.50, travels between towns with winemakers including Gevrey-Chambertin, Vosne-Romanée, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Ladoix-Serrigny, and Aloxe-Corton. A little planning will go a long way to taste the best of Burgundy in these towns.

Otherwise, stop into Beaune and follow the office of tourism’s menu of local wine tastings where some are just a few euros.

Côtes-du-Rhône

Wine tasting in Côtes-du-Rhône. Photo: Thor

Côtes-du-Rhône

The name might not be instantly familiar, but this region around Lyon is popular for its Beaujolais, the first wine of the season that has become something of a marketing tool. Heard of that one, right? Still, the region produces many fantastic reds, and the office of tourism provides all the options on their website.

Some visits and tastings are even free — but it’ll be hard not to leave with a bottle or two. These winemakers know what they’re doing! Don’t feel obligated, but at the same time, going home with a bottle of anything, straight from its production site, gives you a better story to tell than just picking up some anonymous bottle in a supermarket!

Your wine tasting tips

Have you visited any wineries in France? Let us know where you go to sip your favorite wines.

The post France: How go wine tasting on a budget at world-class vineyards appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo

The Places We’ve Seen Because of this Hobby

When I suggested this topic to my editor, I thought it would be a piece of cake to write. We’ve been all around the world. We’ve visited  70+ countries and at this moment, I’m at a loss of how to explain how much these experiences have meant to us. I joined Flyertalk in 2001 at 50 years of age. We traveled mostly in our 50’s and always used miles and points to keep the cost to a minimum. We’re grateful we did it while we still had the energy, mobility, and curiosity.

Our first overseas adventure was a trip to Iceland on a $64 mistake fare. travel by car. Go to the Blue Lagoon, be ready to pay big prices when you get there and from what I hear now, its a bit more touristy than when we went.

I get asked all the time what my favorite country is. My wife and I immediately answer exactly the same: New Zealand, the south end of the South Island. Queenstown, Milford Sound, and the surrounding area. The scenery is as stunning as you’ll find anywhere in the world. We’ve been three times.

We got on a historical site kick for a couple of years visiting Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, The Great Wall of China and Terra Cotta Warriors. We did Beijing as well and enjoyed being one of the few Americans in town for the 90th Anniversary of the Communist Party. May rural Chinese were in town for the celebration and we were told on more than one occasion that we were the first Caucasians they had ever seen. I was considered a Giant and Katy a Witch with her curly red hair.  I went back to Beijing again with the same local guide, Jenny, and she took me to a local museum. Again I was the only Giant in the building and I had the opportunity to sit in the middle of the floor with a group of about third graders and try to talk to one another. Those gifts can never be forgotten or replaced. Don’t miss Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat if you are into those types of locations. Great sites, sounds, customs, costumes, and memories as well.

And I think the location that caught me most by surprise was Iguassu Falls. We stayed at the Sheraton in the Park within walking distance. We headed out early one morning down the path towards the falls. We ran into a young man emptying garbage cans along the pathway.  He got out in front of us and out of sight for a while. When we caught up with him he was sitting on a step of a scenic overlook admiring what I have described as what I expect the Gateway to Heaven to look like. It was just him, and us, and the full overview of the falls in all their glory. I’m not ashamed to admit that view brought tears to my eyes and I’ll never forget it.

We can buy fancy cars, big houses, and diamonds, but things never meant that much to us. Those sites, those sounds and those feelings of utter awe and joy are the treasures of our lives.  I’m so glad we have instilled the travel bug in our children. They are following in our footsteps.

Go see the world. It is a beautiful place to see.

[Image: Flickr/Colin Capelle]

Source: frugal travel guy

How the Most Expensive Cities and Countries for Travel Get That Way

Expensive Iceland travel

How can you be in one of the most expensive cities in the world, take a train or bus for a couple hours, then be in one of the cheapest places to travel? How is it that one of the most expensive countries to travel in can be right next to one that’s a fantastic […]

Want to live a better life for half the price? Sign up for the Cheap Living Abroad Newsletter.

             

Source: Cheapest Destinations

Pilgrims, Warriors, Adventurers, and Drinkers Around the World

Perceptive Travel nature in Mexico story

Each month in Perceptive Travel, where I’m editor, we try to bring you the best travel stories on the internet from usually lesser-known destinations around the world. When we do cover a place everyone has heard of, we try to look into a unique angle and go beyond the surface impressions.  In the November issue, […]

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Source: Cheapest Destinations

Poland: A Budget travel guide to Warsaw

Both Poland’s capital and largest city, Warsaw has many faces. Sure, you’ll find the Old Town there, with its narrow cobblestone alleys, colorful burgher houses, and medieval buildings. However, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is nearly a complete reconstruction built after the war.

But perhaps this is the best symbol for the spirit of Warsaw, a modern city where the turbulent past is still visible, a city made up of a juxtaposition of architecture, from Soviet-era monoliths and rebuilt Gothic treasures to modern skyscrapers of glass and steel. Warsaw is certainly never boring.

It’s a city that keeps you on your toes and is a wonderfully cheap travel destination where your dollars will go a long way.

Related:
More travel tips for Poland 
• A Budget guide to Krakow, Poland


Warsaw all lit up for the holidays.

A Budget travel guide to Warsaw, Poland

To help you get the most of your stay in Warsaw, as well as find even more ways to save, we’ve gathered together the following collection of budget tips.

Getting there

By plane

Warsaw’s main airport, Warszawa Lotnisko Chopina (Chopin Airport), is located about 16 miles south of the city center. From Chopin Airport, you can either take the subway system Szybka Kolej Miejska (SKM) into town or ride on a regular train (Koleje Mazowieckie) to Warszawa Centralna, Warsaw’s main train station.

You can also hop a bus into the city, but this sometimes takes longer, especially during rush hour. Bus 175 will take you directly to the center of the city and Bus 148 and 188 go across the river to the neighborhoods of Praga, Grochów, and Goclaw. Some bus lines, particularly the 175, are known for pickpocketing, so keep a close eye on your belongings.

Savings tip: Although both train tickets are cheap (under $2), the red SKM ticket is slightly cheaper. A 20-minute ticket from Chopin Airport to Warszawa Centralna will put you back only 3.40 zloty, which is less than a dollar. Purchase tickets at the ZTM counter in the arrivals hall or onboard.

In 2013, Warsaw opened Modlin Airport to service budget airlines, which is farther away from the city. Although you can take an express bus into the city for 33 zloty/(about $9), a train ride is the cheaper option. But please note this will take you twice as long (around two hours as opposed to 45 minutes by bus.)

Royal Palace Warsaw

The view of the Royal Palace from the tower of St. Anne’s Church. Photo: Kate Bunker

Arriving by train or bus

Although you can take the train to Warsaw from many locations within Europe, you’ll likely get the best bang for your buck by taking the bus. The best two companies to check out are PolskiBus, a Polish express coach operator, which also offers service from Modlin Airport, or Flixbus. Rates can vary and are usually cheapest if you book at least several weeks in advance.

By car

Another cheap, as well as social option, is car sharing. Check out BlaBlaCar and hitch a ride at a nice price with someone who’s headed for Warsaw.

Tip

To find the cheapest travel options to Warsaw, check out the website omio.com, where you can compare prices for trains, buses, and flights to any destination within Europe.


Getting around Warsaw

Warsaw can be explored easily by foot, but if you need a rest or plan to cover more ground than you feel like walking, the city luckily also has an extensive public transportation network, with trams, buses, a metro system, and trains which will get you basically any place you need to go.

Subway fare & fines

A single fare transfer ticket costs 3.40 zloty/1.70 zloty (for 20 minutes after validation), 4.40/2.20 zloty (for 75 minutes) or 7 zloty/3.50 zloty (for 90 minutes after validation). You can check the Warsaw subway website for more information (in English).

Be sure to validate your ticket immediately after (bus and tram) or before (metro) boarding the vehicle because ticket inspection happens often, and Polish ticket inspectors are known to delight in handing out hefty fines to clueless tourists who didn’t follow the procedure quite right. The same goes for time limits. Fines are high, even if you’re only a minute or two over, so make sure and keep an eye on the time!


Old Town Warsaw

A market set up in Old Town Square. Photo: Krzysztof D

Things to do in Warsaw

Warsaw has a lot to offer when it comes to sightseeing, and luckily a lot of it is free.

Old Town

Take a stroll through Warsaw’s Old Town and check out the colorful, painstakingly restored burgher houses around the Old Town Square (Rynek Starego Miasta).

Old Town is also home to many churches and cathedrals, including St. John the Baptist Cathedral ( ul. Swietojanska 8). Hailing from the 14th century, this cathedral was reduced to a pile of rubble during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising and was later rebuilt in a pseudo-gothic style. Be sure to check out the crypts of several Mazovian knights and famous Poles as well as the fragments of Goliath, a German remote-controlled tank used during the war.

The Old Town is also home to the Royal Castle, where you can see artworks, paintings, and period furniture.

Museums and parks

Two great museums focusing on Warsaw’s (sometimes very grim history) are The Museum of the History of Polish Jews (admission: 25/15 zloty (around $4-7) and the Museum of Neon Lights (admission: 10/8 zloty, around $2-3) which exhibits Soviet-era signs.

Pack a picnic and get a bit of fresh air with locals and tourists alike at Lazienki Park, Warsaw’s largest park.

Palace of Culture and Science

A must-see in Warsaw: The Palace of Culture and Science. Photo: Giuseppe Milo

Palace of Culture and Science

Last but not least, no visit to Warsaw is complete without a visit to the Palace of Culture and Science, Poland’s tallest building and one of the tallest skyscrapers in Europe. At 778 feet tall, the building looks a bit like a stunted Empire State Building with a touch of Big Ben added in. Originally dedicated to Josef Stalin, many Poles resented the building, which they saw as a symbol of Soviet domination. However, the skyscraper has since become a symbol for Warsaw.

The best views

Although you’ll get a great view over the city from the viewing deck at the Palace of Culture and Science, it will cost you 20 zloty/$5.25, and will likely be crowded with tourists. Head instead to the Tower of St. Anne’s Church, which is a steal at 6/5 zloty, or Gdanski Bridge, a charming double-decker bridge with a (free view) of Warsaw’s skyline.

Tours

Don’t shell out the bucks for a bus tour, opt for a free walking tour instead. The free tours available include Communist Warsaw, Jewish Warsaw, Alternative Warsaw and Warsaw Street Art. Be sure to tip well!


Cheap eats and drink in Warsaw

Warsaw has a thriving culinary scene and a vibrant nightlife, and many bargains are to be had. If you want to save on dining in Warsaw, avoid most restaurants around Old Town, as they tend to be overpriced and touristy. For lunch, pick up something small at a bakery or a kielbasa from a street vendor.

Here are a couple of our favorites places to eat and drink for less in Warsaw:

Pierogi Warsaw

You can’t come to Warsaw without tasting pierogies! Photo: Eva R.

Gosciniec
multiple locations

Classic pierogies and hearty Polish fare at a good price await at these restaurants where the staff dresses in traditional folk attire.

Beef‘n’Roll
Nowy Swiat 36

This popular food truck serves up burgers, fries, and beer.

Same Krafty
ul. Nowomiejska 10

The bar in Old Town is great for sipping Polish craft beers. They also have good pizza, burgers and some vegetarian options.

Manekin
ul. Marszalkowska 140

Trendy but still nicely priced, Manekin serves up Polish specialties as well as crepes and pancakes. This restaurant is popular, so you may have to wait for a table — but it’s worth it!

Vege Miasto
al. Solidarnosc 60A

Although traditional Polish food is definitely heavy on the meat, Warsaw also has many great offers for vegans and vegetarians, including this gem.

Miss Kimchi
ul. Zelazna 58/62

If you need a break from pierogi and bigos and like spicy Asian food, Miss Kimchi is the place for you.


Oki Doki Hostel

Stay central with a room at Oki Doki Old Town Hostel.

Cheap hotels in Warsaw

You won’t have to worry about spending a fortune to sleep well in Warsaw. That said, as a more modern city with a number of business travelers (thanks to a booming economy), you do have to be careful about choosing the right place to stay. If you don’t mind sharing a bathroom, hostels are an excellent option in the center of the city.

Search all hotels in Warsaw or check out a few of our favorite budget hotels in Warsaw:

Oki Doki Old Town Hostel
Private rooms from $44

Smack dab in the center of Old Town, Oki Doki is a fun place to relax after a busy day of sightseeing. Take a seat in the outdoor beer garden or make dinner in the fully-equipped communal kitchen.

Mish Mash Nowogrodzka
Private rooms from $40

We like the very un-hostel modern perks of Mish Mash like flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi in all rooms. Every room comes with a private bathroom, although some are located in the hallway.

Hotel Witt
Rooms from $33

Guests love the friendly staff at this hostel with old-world charm. Rooms are set in a historic residential building that has been a film location for several movies including “The Pianist.” Free parking is another highlight

Affordable hotel “splurges”!

For a bit of splurge,  you can stay in the center of the city at the 4-star Mercure Warszawa Grand (around $95 per night) with perks like free breakfast and sauna or the 3-star Hotel Metropol (around $80 per night), where all rooms have private bathrooms and flat-screen TVs.

Your Warsaw tips

Have you been to Warsaw? Tell us your best tips for visiting in the comments section below.

The post Poland: A Budget travel guide to Warsaw appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo