UPDATE: I spoke to the CEO of the management company who owns the Courtyard Marriott Clemson

While this update doesn’t feature an entirely satisfactory resolution, what I learned from the CEO of the management company deserves to be shared as it tells a more complete story of how this big mistake could’ve happened.

The post UPDATE: I spoke to the CEO of the management company who owns the Courtyard Marriott Clemson appeared first on Andy's Travel Blog.

Source: Andys travel blog

You May Need Blank Passport Pages to Travel Abroad

Recently, I ran into a problem with my passport. It doesn’t expire until 2022, but I was running out of space — and fast. I realized before I left for Turks and Caicos in May that I only had two pages left — and that one of those pages was one of the final “endorsement” pages, which aren’t for visas anyway.

Fortunately, I knew to check on passport requirements for my next trip to Norway in June. According to the U.S. Department of State, Norway requires two empty pages in your passport to enter the country!

Believe it or not, Norway is not the only country that has this requirement. Several others require either one or two blank pages for entry, including Canada, Mexico, the U.K., Germany, Italy, Sweden and Iceland.

If you show up at the airport without the empty pages you need to enter countries with this requirement, you can literally be turned away. If you manage to board your plane and land in your destination, you can be sent back.

How to Check Passport Requirements

If you’re unsure whether a country you’re visiting has any specific passport or visa requirements, you can check the U.S. Department of State website. They have a dedicated page for each country outside the U.S., and you can find information such as passport requirements, any security alerts, and how many pages should be blank on your passport for entry into each country.

You can also use the U.S. Department of State to find out about entry requirements, such as if you need a travel visa to enter a specific country.

How I Am Getting My Passport

One problem with traveling so much is that I never, ever have the standard 6-8 weeks in between trips to order a passport the old-fashioned way. I can’t think of any time this year when I didn’t travel internationally within any four-week period.

I wound up paying a company called Travel Visa Pro to expedite my passport for me within 7-11 business days. This set me back almost $400, which is outrageous. Unfortunately, because I live in Central Indiana, I’m not close to any passport offices that let you do it any cheaper.

I’m pretty bummed about the added expense, but I’m sure my Norway trip will be well worth it.

Have you ever traveled to a country that required empty pages in your passport? Where?

 

[Featured Image: Shutterstock]

Source: frugal travel guy

Brussels: 10 budget tips to help you save euros

Brussels is a bustling city in Belgium combining Euro cosmopolitan with old historic buildings and charm.

Definitely a melting pot of people, cultures and styles, Brussels offers a lot to see and do, including the tradition of imbibing Belgian beer.

But as the de facto capital of the European Union, this city can get expensive very fast, as rooms fill up on the weeknights and prices soar as administrators from around the continent come to do business.


Brussels budget travel guide

From finding affordable hotels to knowing where to get a good deal on a plate of mussels and frites, here are a few tips to keep your trip on the cheap.

1.  Free and cheap museums

While some of the fun ones like the museum of comics and the museum of musical instruments aren’t free, others like the museum of military history and touring the European Parliament are open to the public at no cost. And remember: all museums in Brussels are free on the first Sunday of every month.

Related: 5 free things to do in Brussels

Brussels Beer

Seeking out a glass or three of Belgium beer is a must in Brussels. Photo: Dan Zelazo

2. Sipping beer at local brassieres

One bar might claim it houses the largest selection, the other says they have the strongest, or the darkest, etc. Don’t be sucked into a tourist trap just because you see that pink elephant on the beer bottle — all cafes in Brussels hold a rich and impressive Belgian beer selection. Take your time and look for something that has a local feel.

3. Know the mussels season

Brussels offers several local delicacies, but none are as famous as their steamed mussels. In Brussels, mussels season is typically in the fall (September to December), and sometimes in January and February. Ordering up a steamed pot in summer is available, but possibly not fresh and not from the North Sea. Other yummy alternatives for a taste of Belgium include carbonnades flamandes (Flemish beef stew) or rabbit in a gueuze beer sauce.

4. Seeking out fresh-cut frites

You will find enough frites (French fries) stands to make your head spin, but look for the ones with freshly-cut potatoes. Some stands use pre-packaged, frozen potatoes in their fryer, along with processed mayo in industrial-sized cans. The best frites shops have raw potatoes in burlap sacks ready to be cut and fried on the spot, with a giant assortment of sauces. Yum!

Mannekin Pis

Yes, the Mannekin Pis statue is really that small. Photo: Dave C.

5. Don’t “pis” your time away

Word of mouth has somehow deemed Manneken Pis the landmark of Brussels. That mindset leads to continuous letdowns: the fountain is small, the statue is tiny and black iron poles block any chance of a good photo op. Locals find the hooplah hilarious, so listen, it’s no biggie. Go see it, and even grab a souvenir to take home, but just don’t revolve your whole day around it.

6. Laces out

Belgian lace is intricate, delicate, detailed and finely spun craftwork that’s quite special to some people. But textile work specific to a region isn’t unusual, so don’t feel like you have to pay an exuberant amount for it. Lace shops might look fancy, but it doesn’t mean they should overcharge. Beware of paying too much for lace around the center.

Rue des Bouchers

Rue des Bouchers is a charming place for a stroll, but you might want to look elsewhere for a well-priced meal. Photo: Emmanuel P.

7. Walk but maybe don’t eat: Rue des Bouchers

This quaint little alleyway is covered top to bottom in Belgian cafes and restaurants, with waiters beckoning patrons from the sides. The whole street seems to be working together, as prices, deals and dishes are strikingly similar. Rue des Bouchers is a strange, independent organism that seems to live by sucking euros from tourists that don’t know the difference between paella and mussels.

8. Dine local away from the action

In general, Brussels best finds are down small streets and away from the tourist spirals of Grand Place. Being a safe, small city to wander in, locals know their favorite eating spots lie within neighborhoods around the center square. There’s a huge café culture here, do as the Belgians do and wander until something looks appealing.

Related: Exploring the neighborhoods of Brussels

9. Strolling around here is easy (and free!)

The “must-see” of Brussels is the city itself, and downtown is very walkable. From the Botanique cultural center to the Brussels Charleroi canal and the dozens of impressive churches around town — everything is a stone’s throw away. However, if you don’t feel like walking too much, public transit is also a breeze, with underground metro stops at all of the above-mentioned areas. A one-day pass is €7.50

Residence Les Ecrins

Cheapos love Residence les Ecrins for its good location and fun Tin Tin motif in the dining room. Photo: EuroCheapo

10. Finding affordable accommodations

Again, the center is a great place to wander but not necessarily to sleep in. Prices are usually high, and most Belgians live luxuriously on the fringe of the center. Since the city is small and easy to move in, don’t be afraid to find something further from the train stations and Grand Place. Some of the more clean and modern spots are away from those areas. Check out our favorite budget hotels in Brussels.

Furthermore, as a hub of the European Union, during the week, hotel prices soar. For a better deal, come on the weekend when most bureaucrats have headed home.

Check out our full list of cheap hotels in Brussels

The post Brussels: 10 budget tips to help you save euros appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo

The Cost of Living in Ecuador for Expats

Ecuador is the cheapest place to live in South America and a great deal for cheap retirement

The cost of living in Ecuador is quite low for expats and the country continually shows up as one of the cheapest places to retire in the world. As Ecuador resident and author Susan Schenck says, “I knew I could not live in the USA on my pension–not if I wanted to have a roof, […]

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

             

Source: Cheapest Destinations

Essential Items You Need to Bring on a Cruise

In less than a week, I’ll take off on my 6th cruise with MSC Cruises and my first cruise on the MSC Meraviglia. This cruise will depart out of Copenhagen, Denmark and take us through many of the most beautiful areas within the Norwegian Fjords. We’ll also make a stop in Kiel, Germany for a day, and have two at sea days to enjoy the ship itself.

I’m very excited about this cruise for a few reasons. Not only is it our first time to Norway, but the ship is supposed to be amazing. I also desperately need a change of scenery and a break from work.

Essential Items You Need to Bring

But as I began packing all our bags, I realized there are quite a few items I now think of as cruise essentials. Keep in mind that this is my cruise “extras” packing list — made up of items I’ve bought specifically for cruises.

If you’re gearing up for your next cruise and trying to think of items that would make the process easier, here are some of my personal suggestions:

  • Lush shampoo and conditioner bars: I love these Lush bars because you can pack them in a carry-on suitcase and they don’t create any plastic waste. I keep mine in a tin container, which you can also buy from Lush.
  • Beach blanket from Mer-Sea: I pack this beach blanket for Caribbean cruises because it comes with a matching tote and it offers pockets you can use to weigh down the corners with sand. With our own beach blanket, we can enjoy some beach time without having to lay on our cruise towels.
  • Waterproof pouch: We always bring waterproof pouches on beach vacations so that my husband can put our room key and his credit card in his pocket while we’re in the water. We’ve had several sets, but this is the one we’re using right now.
  • Cruise lanyards: We’ve gone through several cruise lanyards since our first cruise, mostly because we can’t seem to find them in between trips. I do like to have them ahead of time, however, instead of buying them on the ship. I just ordered this set the other night.
  • Magnetic hooks: Having magnetic hooks makes it easy to hang items on the back of your door. I frequently use them to hang wet bathing suits and lanyards so they don’t get lost in our room.
  • International plug adapter: We have an older version of this international plug adapter, and we always bring it on our trips — even if we’re not traveling overseas. Since cruise cabins have so few plug-ins, this adapter gives us room to charge all our devices and laptops at the same time.
  • Portable power bank: I love Goal Zero’s Sherpa100AC because it lets you recharge tablets, phones, cameras and laptops on the go. This is great for cruise stops since I can charge my smartphone wherever I am.

What are some of your favorite cruise essentials? Why?

 

[Featured Image: Shutterstock]

Source: frugal travel guy

10 Free museums in Europe to visit on your vacation

Some of the world’s most renowned collections of art and artifacts call Europe home. But when you’re traveling on a budget, museum entry fees can add up in a hurry. So how can an art-loving Cheapo avoid paying the entry price?

Our advice is to visit your top picks on the free or reduced price days, or even better, stick to the many galleries and collections that are free and open to the public all day, every day.

More tips for visiting museums and attractions
Tips for beating the crowds at top sites in Paris
10 Free museums in Stockholm
How to save money and time at the Prado in Madrid


10 Free museums in Europe

You are probably familiar with the big-name museums, so we came up with a list of 10 favorites that you might not expect. From Paris to Berlin, add these free museums to your to-do list for your next trip.

Free Museums in Paris

Paris hosts a few of the world’s most beloved collections  — among them the Louvre and Musée de Orsay. We’re not at all suggesting you should skip these gems if it’s your first time exploring the City of Light. That said, if you’re not a first-timer or you’re a museum-lover with excess time on your hands, 14 of the City of Paris Museums are free to the public throughout the year. Want a couple of more specific suggestions? Here are two of our favorite free collections in the French capital.

1. The Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

11 Avenue Du Président Wilson
website

MaM, located in the east wing of the Palais de Tokyo a short walk from the Eiffel Tower, is an excellent free option to get a look at contemporary art. The collection contains more than 8,000 works of art including pieces by Picasso and Matisse.

2. The Musée de la Vie Romantique

Hôtel Scheffer-Renan – 16 rue Chaptal
website

Located in the former residence of the painter Ary Scheffer, this 1830 home in Paris’ Pigalle neighborhood gives visitors the chance to relive life in Paris’ romantic period. The artwork by George Sand and Ary Scheffer is set amid furniture, portraits and jewelry from the 18th and 19th century.

Check out our full list of free museums in Paris and book a cheap hotel for your trip.

Virreina Palace Barcelona

Virreina Palace in Barcelona is home to art and photo exhibits. Photo: Katherine

Free Museums in Barcelona

Spain’s second-largest city, Barcelona boasts noteworthy collections you simply won’t find anywhere else. Beyond everything Gaudi, there are also museums dedicated to Spanish and Catalan artists like Picasso, Miró, and Tàpies. While most major museums have at minimum, a free afternoon during the week and free first Sundays, there are a few always-free options in the Catalan capital as well.

3. Museo de Carruajes Fúnebres de Barcelona

Carrer de la Mare de Déu de Port, 56
website

While it may be a bit out of the way, Barcelona’s collection of funeral carriages is worth a visit as it features everything from the carriages themselves to funerary ornaments and artifacts. Besides, it’s in Barcelona’s most famous cemetery (Montjüic), which should be on your itinerary for while you’re in town anyway. It’s more than just funerary art — it’s a great place to get sweeping views of Barcelona and beyond.

4. La Virreina Centre de la Imatge

Palau de la Virreina, La Rambla 99
website

Perched near the top end of La Rambla, this 18th-century baroque and rococo palace hosts temporary photo exhibitions and is always free of charge. Even folks who aren’t particularly interested in photography should take a few moments to explore this relatively peaceful space amidst the hubbub of Barcelona’s most boisterous street. You can also see Barcelona’s massive puppets that are used in parades housed on the ground floor here.

Related: Tips for saving at Barcelona’s top attractions 

The Natural History Museum in London. Photo: mapa mundi

Free Museums in London

Keeping more of your pounds in your pocket can be a tall order in the British capital. There are loads of things to see in London, and most of it can cost a pretty penny. But don’t despair. If there’s one thing London has more of than most European capitals, it’s free museums open to the public. Near the top of your list should be the British Museum, aka, the magical place where the Rosetta Stone lives. Sure, there’s usually a suggested donation, but you don’t technically have to pay it. Here are two other world-class spots that are always free.

5. The Natural History Museum

Cromwell Road London SW7 5BD
website

Learn about the natural world in one of the world’s best science museums with an extensive collection of fossils (including dinosaurs and stuffed animal specimens, many of them now extinct) and interactive exhibits on volcanoes and earthquakes.

6. The National Gallery

Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
website

Gawk at over 2,300 pieces of artwork in Britain’s National Gallery, free of charge. There’s something for every type of art-lover here from masterpieces by Italian greats like Titian to impressionists like Cézanne.

Looking for even more freebies? Read our guide to 20 free museums in London. If you need a place to stay, check out our top budget hotels in London.

Chester Beatty Library

Chester Beatty Library in Dublin. Photo: shadowgate

Free Museums in Dublin

While comparisons between Ireland and England aren’t typically welcomed by either party, there’s one good thing that these two countries have in common — the wide range of free national museums that are open to the public. In Dublin, this means visitors can see all of the artifacts at the National Museum’s collections around town and all of the art at the National Gallery of Ireland without paying admission. The National Gallery even offers free tours on weekends. Meet at the information desk at 11:30 am, 12:30 pm or 1:30 pm.

7. Irish Museum of Modern Art

Royal Hospital, Kilmainham
website

A former hospital, this museum is considered Ireland’s most important modern art gallery. Add to that the fact that it’s surrounded by gorgeous gardens perfect for a leisurely stroll, and it’s worth a visit even in a city like Dublin with a multitude of free museum options.

8. Chester Beatty Library

Dublin Castle, Dublin 2, Ireland
website

Head to Dublin Castle for a look around book-lover Alfred Chester Beatty’s worldly goods and explore his collection of ancient scrolls, books and art objects.

Topography of Terror

Walking through the Topography of Terror Museum in Berlin. Photo: Craig Nelson

Free Museums in Berlin

Good news! Almost all of Berlin’s regional museums and memorial sites charge no admission, no matter the date. But unfortunately, gone are the days of free admission on Berlin’s famous Museum Island, unless of course, you’re a minor (admission is free for folks under 18 years of age). That said, if it’s your first time in town and you’re much of a museum buff, you probably should shell out the €18 for entry to all five museums. You can also look into picking up a Berlin WelcomCard for discounts. But for everyone else, or folks that have already been, here are two free options we highly recommend.

9. Topography of Terror

Niederkirchnerstraße 8
website

This museum near Potsdamer Platz stands on the historical site of Gestapo offices and SS leadership headquarters in Berlin. It’s the place where the persecution and extermination of political opponents to the Nazis, as well as the coordination of the extermination of Jews, Sinti, and Roma, was organized and managed. The emotional exhibition examines this dark history in a very open and honest manner. Parts of it are outdoors, so bring a jacket.

10. Museum der Unerhörten Dinge

Crellestrasse 5
website

The Museum of Unheard Things is above all things about the story. This curio cabinet — in museum form — showcases a wide range of curious objects (everything from a letter written by Freud to a cowpie), and more importantly, tells the story of their significance.

Are you headed to Berlin soon? Add these 15 free museums in Berlin to your to-do list and browse our top cheap hotels in the city.

Your picks

What are your favorite free museums in Europe? Are there any places you’d add to our list? Let us know in the comments below.

The post 10 Free museums in Europe to visit on your vacation appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo

The 11 best cheap hotels in Marseille, France

Oh, Marseille. How can you not fall in love with a city where the sea salty breeze takes over as you peruse the historic port, the bountiful museums, the charming old buildings and the seemingly endless delicious eateries? And once you see just how affordable it is to visit this city, you might never leave!

To make the most of your trip to Marseille, you’ll want to stay in a cheap hotel that doesn’t skimp on comfort, cleanliness, amenities or location. Yes, you can have it all! As you prepare for your adventure, we’ve made it simpler by finding some of the top cheap hotels in Marseille, France.

Planning to explore more of France? Check out our favorite budget hotels in Paris, NiceLyon and Strasbourg.

More travel advice for France:


Which Marseille neighborhood should you stay in?

So, you’re headed to Marseille, but where should you stay? Here’s a quick guide to the city’s most popular and central neighborhoods.

La Canebiere

This main thoroughfare of Marseille runs due east from Vieux Port and showcases some of the city’s 19th-century architectural achievements. Built in 1666 under orders from Louis XIV to expand the city, recent public works projects have tried to restore some of the original glory of La Canebière with new shops, restaurants and hotels. Just off the main drag, there is the “Musée d’Histoire de Marseille” and the Opera House.

Place Castellane

Place Castellane, located south of the Old Port, is a grand roundabout (complete with fountain and sculpture), surrounded by chic cafes and cinemas.

Vélodrome Stadium

The Stade Vélodrome, located south of the city’s center, is Marseille’s main soccer stadium. The home of the “Olympique de Marseille” soccer team, it’s the largest soccer stadium in France, seating more than 60,000 spectators.

Vieux Port and Panier

The historic center of Marseille grew up around the Vieux Port (Old Harbor) and the neighborhood just to the north, le Panier. Though most shipping activity has moved to the new Port de la Joliette, the old harbor is still used as a private marina. In this area, you’ll find the church La Vieille Charité and many museums. Vieux Port is a great neighborhood to stay for the views and central location, but the streets can be a bit noisy in the evenings.


The best cheap hotels in Marseille, France

Here are some of our favorite affordable hotels throughout the city.

yellow hotel room with zebra rug

A cheerful room at Massilia Hôtel.

Massilia hôtel

Neighborhood: La Canebiere
Doubles from $62

The Massilia hôtel offers incredibly low rates with a great location near Vieux Port and the center of Marseille, with the port being less than a 10-minute walk away.

The recently renovated hotel offers 18 refreshed rooms with warm, cheery decor to make you feel at home. Guests can also enjoy all the common creature comforts: air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen televisions, kettles and more. Breakfast is available for a reasonable fee.

Stay at your new home away from home at the Massilia hôtel.

rooftop terrace with port views

Hôtel Hermès offers lovely port views from the rooftop terrace.

Hôtel Hermès

Neighborhood: Vieux Port and Panier
Doubles from $79

With a rooftop terrace and a central location, the Hôtel Hermès is a bang for your buck considering it is just steps from the scenic Vieux Port.

The cozy guestrooms provide standard hotel decor, but the views of the port are a great bonus. Each soundproofed, en suite room also includes free Wi-Fi, flat-screen televisions, air conditioning and more.

The real draw here is the lovely roof deck that offers sweeping views of the harbor and the city. Enjoy breakfast, available for an additional charge, or an evening glass of wine here while you take in the scenery.

Take advantage of excellent views and low rates at Hôtel Hermès.

bright white hotel room

The Europe Hotel Vieux Port is merely 50 feet from the Old Port.

Europe Hotel Vieux Port

Neighborhood: Vieux Port and Panier
Doubles from $79

The two-star Europe Hotel Vieux Port will keep you just a stone’s throw (50 feet!) from Vieux Port during your stay.

The rooms are modestly decorated but are bright and airy with views of the city. There is no shortage of amenities either: air conditioning, flat-screen televisions, free Wi-Fi, private bathrooms, video game consoles and kettles top the list of perks.

Breakfast is available for an additional charge and is served until midday — perfect for those who prefer to sleep in.

Call Europe Hotel Vieux Port home for your next trip to Marseille.

charming building with balconies

Some rooms at Hotel du Pharo even include balconies.

Hotel Du Pharo

Neighborhood: Vieux Port and Panier
Doubles from: $84

Less than a 10-minute walk from Palais du Pharo, the two-star Hotel du Pharo sports sweet and simple rooms, some of which even have balconies.

Each room includes a minimalist design scheme with a framed art print to be found here and there. You can score a deluxe double room for under $100, complete with a private bathroom, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen televisions, telephones and — best of all — balconies with city vistas. Breakfast is offered for an additional fee.

Grab a balcony room at Hotel du Pharo before they are gone.

red hotel room

A stay at Saint Ferréol will give you quick access to the center of Marseille.

Saint Ferréol

Neighborhood: Vieux Port and Panier
Doubles from $89

Just a 5-minute walk from the port, the three-star Saint Ferréol offers unbeatable rates and quick access to the heart of the city.

The spotless hotel rooms are quiet and comforting and feature excellent views. Every room has a private bathroom, most of which also include bathtubs. From kettles to cable TV to air conditioning to free Wi-Fi, you’ll find all the comforts of home here.

If you really need fuel for the day, a buffet breakfast (available for an extra fee) includes eggs, pancakes and fresh pastries. You can also go the ultra cheapo route with the offered express breakfast, which includes orange juice, tea or coffee and a croissant for a reduced rate.

Enjoy a peaceful and budget-friendly stay at Saint Ferréol.

port views from window of hotel room

The modern rooms at Hôtel Belle-Vue boast port vistas.

Hôtel Belle-Vue

Neighborhood: Vieux Port and Panier
Doubles from $100

Tucked into a 19th century building, the one-star Hôtel Belle-Vue will place you just a 4-minute walk to the Old Port. The hotel also prides itself on its sustainability, making it ideal for eco-conscious travelers.

The port views from the hotel rooms will leave you speechless. In addition to the picturesque views, each room also includes air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, electric blankets, board games and much more. A continental breakfast is provided for free. There is also a traditional French restaurant and a cocktail bar with a balcony on-site.

Score unmatched views of the port in a room at Hôtel Belle-Vue.

modern black, white and beige hotel room

The brand new Hôtel Mercure Marseille Canebière Vieux-Port offers a touch of luxury on a budget.

Hôtel Mercure Marseille Canebière Vieux-Port

Neighborhood: La Canebiere
Doubles from $101

At the new, four-star Hôtel Mercure Marseille Canebière Vieux-Port, you’ll find stunning rooms at affordable rates right in the heart of the city near the Old Port and La Canebiere.

The stylish rooms are impressive, and this attractiveness carries over into the private bathrooms as well as the shared spaces. Guestrooms are spotless and sparkly new, as the hotel is just opening July 2019. Amenities include air conditioning, kettles, flat-screen televisions and free Wi-Fi. Some rooms also offer excellent views of the neighborhood.

Breakfast is available, but it will cost a pretty penny. You might be better off wandering the area for a cafe instead to save some money.

Be one of the first guests at Hôtel Mercure Marseille Canebière Vieux-Port.

view of Marseille from wrought iron balcony

The charming views from a guestroom balcony at Hôtel Maison Saint Louis.

Hôtel Maison Saint Louis – Vieux Port

Neighborhood: Vieux Port and Panier
Doubles from $101

After undergoing a complete renovation just this year, the Hôtel Maison Saint Louis – Vieux Port is ready to welcome guests into its lovely hotel located a few minutes on foot from Vieux Port. The Opéra de Marseille and La Canebière are also just a short stroll away.

It’s a bold move for a hotel to go for all-white guestrooms, but this shows the hotel is proud of just how impeccable these rooms are. The bright, updated rooms are also equipped with everything from air conditioning and soundproofing to flat-screens and free Wi-Fi. A continental breakfast, available for an extra charge, is served in the hotel restaurant, which also dishes out lunches and dinners.

Stay in the heart of Marseille at the Hôtel Maison Saint Louis – Vieux Port.

patio seats in a garden

Relax in the lush gardens of Le Clos du Jas.

Le Clos du Jas

Neighborhood: La Canebiere
Doubles from $101

Situated just outside the center of Marseille, this charming B&B will make you feel at home and will keep you based just a short trip to the port, the historic city center or the beach.

Dressed in varying hues of purple, the rooms are cute and welcoming. They come complete with flat-screen televisions, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and kettles for coffee or tea. Many of the rooms also offer views of the city to boot. Breakfast, consisting of homemade pastries, marmalades and orange juice, is included in the low nightly rate.

Sleep easy at Le Clos du Jas.

studio hotel room with bed and kitchenette

Studio rooms at Aparthotel Adagio Access Marseille Prado Périer are a steal.

Aparthotel Adagio Access Marseille Prado Périer

Neighborhood: Vélodrome Stadium
Doubles from $113

Nestled into a quiet, residential part of town, Aparthotel Adagio Access Marseille Prado Périer offers sleek and reasonably priced accommodations just a little over half a mile from Vélodrome Stadium.

Rooms here are bright and modern with chic furnishings and fully equipped kitchenettes for those who prefer to whip up their own meals. Aside from the perk of having kitchens, the rooms also feature air conditioning, safes, en suite bathrooms, flat-screen televisions and free Wi-Fi. A buffet breakfast is sometimes included in the room rate, or you can save more money by making something in your room.

Book a studio room for a steal at Aparthotel Adagio Access Marseille Prado Périer.

old chateau building

Chateau du Bois-Luzy is located within a chateau dating back to the 19th century.

Auberge de jeunesse Hi Marseille – Chateau du Bois-Luzy

Neighborhood: La Canebiere
Beds from $27

Located 4.5 km east from the city center, the youth hostel Chateau du Bois-Luzy might be a tad far-flung, but it offers extremely affordable rates and is positioned close to the bus stop for easy transit access.

Travelers will be wowed upon arrival to this 19th century chateau, which is charming inside and out. Skylights, mosaic tiles and wrought-iron balconies all add to the old world-feel. Guests can take advantage of the long list of communal spaces, including a kitchen, a TV lounge and a spacious dining room.

Book a super cheapo stay and make new friends at Chateau du Bois-Luzy.

Searching for more cheap hotels in Marseille and beyond? Check out more budget-friendly accommodations in Marseille and France.

The post The 11 best cheap hotels in Marseille, France appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo

Don’t leave Rome without tasting these 5 classic dishes (each under €10)

It’s no secret that Italy is a foodie paradise. Each region is famed for its unique cuisine, with culinary traditions that go back hundreds of years.

Most people know that the Bologna region is home to the best Bolognese sauce, (as well as many other types of meat and cheeses), that Tuscany is sacred wine territory and that the south is the place to be for limoncello and seafood.

Rome, for all its history and architectural glory, often gets overlooked as a food haven in the shadows of its more famous neighbors. But Roman dishes aren’t to be missed.


Rome food: 5 must-try dishes

Simple, fresh and mouthwatering, these top Roman dishes will fill you up for less than €10. So book your Rome hotel room and start building up your appetite!

Artichokes

Roman-style artichokes are one of the city’s most famous dishes. And tastiest too! Photo: contexttravel

Roman-style artichokes

 Artichokes are big in Rome, and carciofialla Romana, or ‘Roman-style artichokes,’ is one of the region’s most famous dishes. It’s served in restaurants year-round, but traditionally it’s a spring dish because the Romanesco artichoke variety is harvested between February and April.

The artichokes are cleaned and rubbed with lemon juice, then stuffed with Roman parsley, salt, pepper and crushed garlic. Next, they’re placed in a deep pan, doused with water, white wine and a bit of oil, and braised until they’re soft. The smooth leaves break from the artichoke head easily, and the lemony, salty, garlic flavor will blow your mind. Even those who don’t usually like artichokes should try this delicious preparation.

Try it at: La Campana

cacio e pepe

This plate of cacio e pepe at Felice is probably the best mac ‘n cheese you’ll ever have. Photo: fabulousfabs

Cacio e pepe

The simplest of Roman dishes, yet also one of the most popular, cacio e pepe is like macaroni and cheese on steroids — it will have you dreaming of it long after you’ve left the Eternal City. Fresh tonnarelli pasta is tossed with lots and lots of pecorino cheese and cracked black pepper.

The pecorino, a tangy, salty cheese, is the perfect complement to warm, homemade pasta, and you’ll be amazed how creamy the sauce becomes with just a touch of pasta water.

Try it at: Da Enzo in Trastevere, or Felice a Testaccio dating back to 1936.

Amatriciana

A perfectly prepared plate of bucatini all’ amatriciana at Gigetto. Photo: mmchicago

Bucatini all’amatriciana

Another dish with just a handful of ingredients, amatriciana is one of the most traditional Roman dishes. Purists insist on no deviations from the recipe, and they have a point. Why ruin a good thing? Fresh tomatoes and guanciale, (pork jowl — like really fatty, delicious bacon), make up the base, and a bit of cheese, oil, onion and pepper are thrown in as well.

The pasta is usually bucatini. It’s simple, but if the ingredients are fresh, the flavor will explode on your taste buds and make you wonder why you’ve never thought of such a simple and delicious combination. Best of all, it’s fairly easy to make when you get home.

Try it at: Da Gigetto, a trattoria in the Jewish Ghetto.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Pasta carbonara is another simple yet rich Roman dish that packs in tons of flavor into every bite. Photo: exileinsuburbia

Spaghetti carbonara

Carbonara is like Cacio e Pepe, but with two important additions — egg and guanciale. The pork is cooked in fat, while the fresh spaghetti is cooked al dente, then tossed with raw eggs, cheese and more fat. (This is done away from the heat so that the egg doesn’t coagulate). Add in the guanciale, and you have the creamiest, most decadent of the Roman dishes.

Try it at: Roscioli and Da Danilo, both in central Rome, serve two of the best.

Pizza

A crispy, thin-crust Margherita pie fresh out of the oven in Rome. Photo: su lin

Roman-style pizza

Everyone knows that Naples has the best pizza in Italy, but Rome is a close second if you can even compare the two. Roman-style pizza is nothing like the pies in Napoli, making them almost completely different dishes. Where Naples boasts fluffy crusts, the Romans make them thin and crispy, with wood-fired, almost burnt edges. A thin layer of fresh tomato sauce is spread across the dough and sprinkled with fresh mozzarella and a variety of toppings.

When in Rome, try to hold back from toppings at least once, and settle on a plain margherita — tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil. We promise you won’t regret it.

Try it at: Da Remo, in Testaccio and L’Archetto, near the Vatican, both have excellent pizzas and atmospheres.

Still hungry for more?

For more budget eating ideas in Rome, check out EuroCheapo’s full list of tips on the blog.

The post Don’t leave Rome without tasting these 5 classic dishes (each under €10) appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo

My Favorite Credit Cards that Aren’t Travel Cards

My husband and I have had a ton of credit cards over the years, mostly due to the fact we have pursued a lot of signup bonuses. We’ve also canceled many of our cards over the years, although there are ones we keep for the long haul. By and large, however, the bulk of our credit cards are travel credit cards and not basic rewards cards.

For the most part, I prefer to earn travel rewards over cash-back. Not only do I tend to get more value out of rewards specific to travel, but I know for a fact I get more bang for my buck when I’m able to transfer points to airline partners.

Still, some of the credit cards I’ve had the longest aren’t travel credit cards at all. Here are my favorite non-travel credit cards:

Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom card is one of the first rewards credit cards I applied for, and I’ve kept it due to its lucrative rewards categories and the fact there’s no annual fee. Not only do you get a $150 cash bonus when you sign up for this card and spend $500 within three months of account opening, but you earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate each quarter and 1% back on all other purchases.

While the Chase Freedom is okay as a standalone card, I love using it in conjunction with my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. That’s because Chase lets you combine all your points in one account for optimal travel redemptions. In my case, I move all our family points from our Chase personal and business credit cards into my Chase Sapphire Reserve account so I can get 50% more travel for free when I book through the portal. This also gives me the option to make 1:1 transfers to airlines and hotels.

Blue Cash Preferred From American Express

I’ve also had the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express for a quite a while, which is easy to justify despite its $95 annual fee. This card gives you 6% back on up to $6,000 in grocery spending each year along with all purchases made with U.S. streaming services. You also get 3% back at gas stations and on transit, including Uber and Lyft rides, and 1% back on all other purchases.

I like this card because it offers lucrative cash back anyone can benefit from. After all, maxing out the 6% grocery spending category gives you $360 in cash back every year, which is considerably more than the annual fee.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a new credit card, don’t forget to consider credit cards that aren’t necessarily travel cards. Some might let you pool points with other cards you have for better redemptions. Others might only let you redeem for cash back, but it’s easy to use cash-back for travel since you can use it to cover incidentals, meals, excursions, and more.

Which are your favorite credit cards outside the travel niche? Why?

 

[Featured Image: Shutterstock]

Source: frugal travel guy