How I’m Paying for a Family Trip to the UK in July

My husband and I are taking our two children to the U.K. for two weeks in July. We’ll spend the first half of our trip in London, York, and the English Lake District before heading to Loch Lomond, Inverness, and Edinburgh in Scotland for the second half of our trip. We haven’t been anywhere with just for the four of us for quite a while, so I’m looking forward to it. I want to emphasize that we didn’t pay for our entire trip with rewards — and not even close. We just paid for part of it with points and miles, and we covered the rest in cash.

Breaking Down the Trip With Points and Miles

The main reason we chose to go back to the U.K. is that we found really good pricing on flights through Finnair.com. While our actual flights are on British Airways, the total cost for our four flights worked out to $1,870.90. That’s a little over $450 per person, which is a spectacular deal for round-trip flights into London and home from Edinburgh — even though it’s in economy.

We plan to spend the first three nights of our trip in London at the Georgian House Hotel in one of its “Wizard Rooms.” We’re paying cash for this part because we had trouble finding award availability and a room that sleeps four during the chosen dates. While in London, we plan to see the Phantom of the Opera and do some basic sightseeing. I also cashed in some Citi ThankYou points for entry into the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey for the four of us. For one of our full days in the city, I booked a day trip of Leed’s Castle, Canterbury, Dover, and Greenwich through Chase Ultimate Rewards for approximately 32,000 points for the four.

Once we leave London, we plan to pick up our rental car and head to Hever Castle (the childhood home of Anne Boleyn) before spending the night in York. I cashed in a free Hilton weekend night from my Hilton Aspire card for one night at the Hilton York.

The morning after our stay in York, we plan to head to the Lake District in our rental car. I have an Airbnb booked for three nights, and we have no plans during that time. I paid for our Airbnb mostly in cash, although I did use around $400 in travel credit I’ve accrued over the last six months with my Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.

Once we leave the English Lake District, we are heading to Loch Lomond for two more nights, then on to Inverness for three nights. We plan to do our own sightseeing during this time with stops in Glencoe, Inveraray, Stirling Castle, and more. We don’t have any concrete plans during this time — more of a list of things we want to see in the area with our rental car.

Finally, we plan to spend our final two nights in Edinburgh at the Kimpton Charlotte Square. This hotel costs 55,000 IHG Rewards points per night, and it is expertly located right next to Old Town.

The Bottom Line

I’m very excited for this trip since my kids haven’t been to England yet. Scotland has also been on our list for a while now, so it’s nice to wrap it all into one itinerary we can enjoy toward the end of my children’s summer break. I may not have paid for everything with rewards, but I certainly saved some money with points and miles. And that is usually my goal anyway — using rewards to stretch my travel budget as far as it can go.

Do you have any big summer travel plans? Which part of your itinerary did you cover with rewards?

[Featured Image: Shutterstock]

Source: frugal travel guy

Travel Prices in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

a trip to Sugarloaf Mountain in Brazil costs around $30

Have you had Rio de Janeiro on your “someday” travel list but heard it was more expensive than the rest of South America? Well, thanks to a currency slide and the elimination of a visa fee, travel prices in Brazil are now looking quite reasonable. While all the talk about Brazil the past decade has […]

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Source: Cheapest Destinations

Our 6 favorite budget beaches in Europe

There’s nothing like spending a sunny day at the beach in Europe. During the summer, millions of tourists from around the world flock to beaches in popular destinations like Italy and the South of France. But many of the most famous sandy spots, like Cannes or San Remo, are too pricey and have little to offer budget-conscious travelers.

But don’t despair: there are still plenty of nicely priced options for Cheapos who crave a bit of sand and surf on their European vacation, and there are even ways to save at some of the most popular beaches in Europe.

Related beach tips:
Best affordable seaside escapes in Spain
Beating the heat in Rome: 4 Beaches easily accessible by train
Four beach trips close to Lisbon


Our favorite budget beaches in Europe

Below we’ve listed six of our favorite budget beaches in Europe, with plenty of tips to help you save.

Montenegro

With its beautiful coastline, Montenegro is becoming popular with the Russian jet set, with yachts galore docking in the fancy new Porto Montenegro marina in Tivat. However, the area remains largely undiscovered by Western tourists, and there are still plenty of bargains to be had.

Some great places to check out are the town of Herceg Novi, located at the entrance of the Bay of Kotor, and Ulcinj, which has a lovely old town with a distinct Ottoman flair.

Budget Tips

• Hotels: Hotel rooms with easy beach access can go as low as $30 a night for a double room. Search and book over 5,300 hotels in Montenegro.

• Eating cheap: Food and drink, including excellent local beer and wine, is very cheap throughout the country.

• When to go: If possible, try to visit during the warm shoulder seasons from May to June and September to October, with an average high of around 70 degrees. The area gets very crowded in July and August and prices can easily double in some places.

Algarve Portugal

The beautiful sands of Algarve, Portugal. Photo: Ricardo

Algarve, Portugal

Located in the southernmost area in Portugal, Algarve is very popular with beach-loving tourists from Europe and beyond. Besides frolicking in the waves and lounging in the sand, tourists in Algarve can indulge in a little lively nightlife, some of it directly at the beach, like Restaurante Bar | Caniço, a lively hangout which is nestled between two cliffs in a seaside cove in Portimão.

If you need a break from the beach, Algarve also has many charming villages such as Santa Luzia, famous for its octopus fishermen, who still use traditional fishing methods to catch “polvo” (Portuguese for octopus), a popular delicacy in the country. Algarve is also well-known as a family-friendly destination, so feel free to bring along the tots and sand toys.

Budget Tips

• Hotels: Algarve does have a number of hotels catering to budget tourists. If you want to splurge, there are vacation homes available with a swimming pool, so you can still take a quick dip even if you decide not to trek out to the beach every day. Search over 5,000 hotels in Algarve

• When to go: July and August are busy and pricier months to visit, so if you would like to visit during this time, make sure and book well in advance or the best deals will be gone.

Tenerife Playa Negra

Playa Jardín en Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife. Photo: Jaume

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

The largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, Tenerife is also the most popular with tourists, catering to everyone from the luxury traveler to the bare-bones backpacker. With nearly 7.5 miles of beautiful coastline stretching from Costa Adeje, Playa de las Américas, and Los Cristianos, beach lovers have plenty to choose from.

However, choose your beaches wisely, as the price for sun lounger rentals varies greatly. To save, make sure you choose a beach in the yellow zone, not the green zone, where sun loungers cost 20 percent more. Better yet, spread a towel out on the sand old-school style for an absolutely free experience.

For day trips, check out the old town and African market in the island’s capital city, Santa Cruz. And make sure to pack your hiking boots along with your sandals: No trip to Tenerife is complete without a visit to Mount Teide, the world’s third largest volcano, which you can reach easily by bus.

Budget Tips

• Getting around: One of the best ways to explore the island is by car, and luckily rental cars on Tenerife are inexpensive. However, be sure and book before you go to snag the best deals. Use CheapoSearch to find rental car prices.

• When to go: Although Tenerife belongs to Spain, the island is located off the coast of Morocco, so you lots of sunny days and warm temperatures throughout the year. The average high dips down to 68 degrees from December to February, stays in the mid-70s in spring and late fall and rises to around 80 degrees from July to September.

• Off-season: Because of the weather, the island is perfect for off-season budget travelers in search of warmth throughout the year as well as high season summer travelers who prefer the thermometer to stay well below 100 degrees.

• Meals: To save on dining, do as the Spanish do and eat your larger meal at lunchtime when prices are lower.

• Hotels: Search more than 2,800 hotels in Tenerife

Antalya Turkey Beach

The clear blue waters of the Mediterranean in Antalya. Photo: Steven Tan

Antalya, Turkey

Located in the Gulf of Antalya, Antalya boasts a beautiful stretch of Mediterranean coastline in southwest Turkey, an area known as the Turkish Riviera. Although technically in Asia, this area is incredibly popular with tourists, and many cheap flights are available from across Europe. The place is famous for mega-resorts, with a network of pools and gigantic buffets, which can be booked at a variety of different price classes.

Be sure and take a break from the beach to have a stroll through Antalya’s old town to take a walk through history. Many of the city’s winding streets and buildings hail from the Ottoman Empire and there are also many Roman Era highlights, like Hadrian’s Gate, which was built in the 2nd century.

Budget Tips

• When to go: Although highs in Antalya from July to September usually range in the mid-80s, the water also matches the temperature outside at this time, so don’t expect a swim to cool you down.

• Politics: The current political situation in Turkey these days has reportedly been very hard on the Turkish tourism industry, so this likely a good time to find some truly great deals. However, be sure to keep abreast of political tensions and travel warnings before you do.

• Hotels: If you’d prefer something in town, check out White Garden Hotel or Hotel Twenty, a budget hotel located six minutes from the beach. Want more options? Search over 390 hotels in Antalya.

Cala d’Or

Diving into the sparkling waters of Cala d’Or in Mallorca. Photo: Adria

Mallorca Island, Spain

Mallorca is particularly popular with British and German tourists, with hotel high-rises catering to their sun-starved populations since the 1960s. For Germans, it’s also a popular place to retire; in some places, you’ll be just as likely to see signs in German as in Spanish.

Unless you’re in the mood for some spring break-like partying, be sure and avoid places like El Arenal and Cala d’Or. However, if you are in the mood for lively nightlife to mix in with baking in the sun, Cala d’Or is the better choice.

Make sure and take a stroll through the old town in the island’s capital, Palma de Mallorca. A ride on the old wooden train to Soller and Valldemossa is also a fun outing and well worth the price.

And if you rent a car, be sure to check out the island’s east coast, where German jet-setters dock their yachts and have million dollar homes tucked away in the cliffs. This side of the island has some of the most breathtaking views as well as many less crowded, rocky beaches favored by locals.

Budget Tips

• Getting around: Like Tenerife, one of the best ways to see Mallorca is by car, and thanks to the great tourist infrastructure on the island you should be able to rent one with ease for a nice price. Check rates for rental cars.

• Hotels: Many budget priced hotels are available in the area, such as Hostal Tbaida. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, try for a place on the less touristy northern side of the island, like Sa Boronia in Banyalbufar, which is a five-minute walk from the beach.

• Search hotels: Know your dates? Search over 5,000 hotels in Mallorca.

Related: Beyond the beaches in Mallorca and Sun, sea & schnitzel in Mallorca

Kos Island Greece

The sun sets over a beach on Kos Island. Photo: Mycatkins

Kos Island, Greece

A European beach guide is simply not complete without a shout out to Greece, so here we go. Famous for its sparkling blue, gentle Aegean sea, Greece has many options for beach-loving budget travelers.

Budget Tips

• Just ‘Kos: Our favorite Greek island beach? Kos Island. Some recommended and budget-friendly places to stay include Ilios and Irene and Philippos Studio & Apartments, which is located almost directly on the beach and is less than five miles from Kos International Airport.

• Ferry tickets: If you decide to do some island hopping, be sure and book your ferry ticket in advance to save.

• Choosing islands: Although Santorini and Mykonos are among the most beautiful of the islands, they are also the priciest, and therefore better for short day trips.

• Day to avoid: If you can, try to avoid traveling to Greece on August 15. This is a major holiday in the country, and prices always skyrocket.

• Search hotels: Know your dates? Search over 375 hotels on the island of Kos.

Your favorite budget beaches in Europe?

Have an affordable beachy escape to add to our list? Tell us about your favorite budget beach in the comments section below!

The post Our 6 favorite budget beaches in Europe appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo

All-Inclusive Resorts vs. Cruising: Which Is More Frugal?

Since I frequently travel with my kids and prefer to keep things easy, I really love cruising and all-inclusive resorts. Both options make it easy to budget and pay for your trip without a ton of surprises, and both can be booked in one of my favorite regions of the world — the Caribbean.

But which is more frugal: All-inclusive resorts or cruising? Since you can book some pricey all-inclusive resorts and luxury cruises, it’s safe to say that both options can really be as expensive as you want them to be.

Pros and Cons: All-Inclusive Resorts

There are a few reasons I love all-inclusive resorts as a frugal vacation option for families. For starters, there are many ways you can book all-inclusive resorts with points, whether that means cashing in hotel loyalty points, redeeming flexible travel credit, or booking an all-inclusive property through a portal. With enough rewards racked up, you could even book an all-inclusive resort for free.

Other advantages of all-inclusive resorts include the fact that all your drinks — including alcohol — are accounted for in your nightly rate. Plus, you don’t generally need to figure out day trips or excursions if you’re happy with the resort beach and entertainment.

On the downside, however, most all-inclusive resorts are outside the U.S., meaning you’ll have to pay for international airfare with cash or miles. All-inclusive resorts are also notorious for offering bland buffet food, although you generally get better food options when you stay away from the cheapest AI options.

Pros and Cons: Cruising

Cruising is another frugal family option, although how much you’ll save depends on the cruise you book and whether you have any rewards to redeem. Like all-inclusive resorts, there are a ton of ways to cover all or part of your cruise with rewards, including flexible travel credit from a card like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.

Some cruise lines like MSC Cruises also let kids ages 11 and under cruise free on select itineraries, which can lead to huge savings for families. I know that, last spring break, my family booked a balcony cabin during peak time for $2,500 for the week — partly because we only had to pay taxes and fees for our two children.

Another benefit of cruising is that, if you live near a cruise port, you can usually skip the cost of airfare and drive.

On the flip side, cruises can come with a lot of hidden expenses. For example, you may wind up shelling out big bucks for cruise excursions if you like to have planned activities at each port. Cruises also tend to exclude alcohol from your package, which can mean you’ll wind up with a huge cruise bill if you drink a lot.

The Bottom Line

Both cruises and all-inclusive resorts can be a frugal option if you choose wisely and use rewards to stretch your travel budget as far as you can go. Make sure to consider all your options before you book your next family trip, including which type of vacation suits your family’s travel style the best.

Personally, I book cruises and all-inclusive resorts regularly, so I don’t feel the need to choose.

Which do you think is more frugal? Why?

[Featured Image: Shutterstock]

Source: frugal travel guy

Berlin in summer: 5 easy ways to cool down

Summer in Berlin is glorious, but the heat can really get to you when the temperatures really start to rise.

Air conditioning is virtually unheard of (including in hotels in Berlin), and the subways and buses start feeling more like saunas. When the thermometer starts rising, try these popular ways to cool down, local style.

1. Bathing: Au naturel

When summer rolls around, half the city heads to the lakes that dot Berlin and its surrounding area. Consult this Berlin swimming map and head out to nature.

And by “nature,” I mean that clothing is optional.

2. Bathing: To see and be seen

But if you’re more the type to lounge than lunge into the water, a quiet lake in a rustic forest just won’t do. Slip into something sexy and head to Badeschiff (pictured, top), a small bathing platform floating in the river smack in the middle of the city.

This is where “scenesters” come to strut their stuff and check out one another. Evening concerts and parties are especially popular. A day ticket is only €6.50.

Ice cream truck Berlin

Look out for ice cream trucks. “Ice cream makes you happy.” Photo: Scottog

3. Ice cream

You can’t seem to walk a few blocks without walking past an ice cream parlor in the German capital. Homemade, all-natural ice cream is the norm, not the exception — there are countless independent shops that serve frozen treats in all shades and flavors. Here’s a list of some of the best.

Also, keep an eye out for ice cream trucks. On a hot day, you might just come across one for a quick and cheap cool down!

4. Fight fire with fire: Hot Currywurst

Sometimes you need to warm up to cool down. Case in point: Currywurst. But where can you find currywurst in Berlin that really turns up the heat?

A glaring omission in my past post about Currywurst was Curry & Chili, which has the hottest wieners in the city (and I don’t mean the clientele).

5. When all else fails: Street water pumps

Berlin sits on a huge underground water reserve, and until the 1930s Berliners used hand-operated pumps on the streets to clean, put out fires and even drink. Some 2,000 pumps remain functional today, and though they deliver untreated water straight from the ground underneath, 2/3 of them deliver drinkable quality water. (Berlin’s tap water, by the way, is excellent.)

So pump out some water, splash it on yourself and go on your merry way. It won’t cost you a thing.

The post Berlin in summer: 5 easy ways to cool down appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo

Uber in Paris: How to find the cheapest rides

Getting around Paris with the Metro is quite easy — and cheap too!

However, for those times when you might want to take in the Parisian scenery above ground or just avoid the Metro stairs and crowds, then you might want to use a ridesharing app like Uber.

We’ve taken rides with Uber around the city to help you find the best deals. We’ve listed real prices from trips in the city as well as to and from the airports — both Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Orly (ORY) — on all types of Uber.

Read on to discover helpful tips for using Uber in Paris to save on your transportation costs.

More transportation tips for Paris
8 ways to save on the Metro, buses and taxis
6 budget options for getting from Charles de Gaulle to central Paris
10 Money-saving tips for first-time visitors to Paris


Using Uber to get around Paris

Uber is legal in France, and it is very active in Paris. However, in 2016, Uber was fined €800,000 for operating an illegal taxi service with UberPOP — a service similar to UberX — in France between 2014 and 2015. Uber has since suspended UberPOP.

Currently, here are the available and legal services that Uber is operating in Paris: UberX, UberPOOL, Berline (French version of UberBLACK), UberGREEN, UberVAN, and UberACCESS.

Price points for Uber in Paris

When traveling within Paris, Uber can be an affordable way to get around the city. Here’s a breakdown of the prices across all the Uber services within Paris for the same trip from Avenue de Clichy in the 17th arrondissement to the Eiffel Tower in the 7th arrondissement on a Monday afternoon (5 km or 3.5 miles):

UberPOOL: €9.37
UberX: €13-18
UberGREEN: €13-18
UberACCESS: €13-18
UberVAN: €23-31
Berline: €23-31

Paris Uber

The view of Paris from the back of an Uber. Photo: Kirsten

The cheapest option: UberPool

As you can see in the prices above, UberPool offers the lowest prices. UberPool is where you share your ride with other guests. For example, if you want to go somewhere by yourself or with one other person, you can call an UberPOOL, and the driver may arrive with one passenger already in the car, or the driver can pick someone else while taking you to your destination.

UberPOOL is the cheapest option because you are technically splitting the full cost of an UberX with the other passengers. If you’re traveling alone or with one other person, UberPOOL is worth the discount. But keep in mind, if you are short on time, you are better off paying for a full UberX because you avoid the detour of picking up other passengers.

Also keep in mind that in the U.S., it costs $1 more to add a second passenger to your UberPOOL, and similarly in France, it costs an additional €1 to add your second passenger.

UberPOOL has a fixed price from both of Paris’ airports to Paris and vice versa. It doesn’t matter which arrondissement you go to or are picked up from, the price will be the same because Paris is treated as its own entity when it comes to airport travel.

The Uber app is widely used in Paris to get around the city. Photo: Pexels.com

Airport price points for UberPOOL

Charles de Gaulle Airport to Paris (17th arrondissement): €32.50 for 2 riders
Paris (17th arrondissement) to Charles de Gaulle Airport: €31.50 for 1 rider
Paris (17th arrondissement) to Orly: €32 for 1 rider
Orly to Paris (17th arrondissement): €32 for 1 rider

Related: How not to blow your budget on a taxi from Paris airports

Worth it for groups and airport rides: UberX

UberX is where you have the whole four-door car to yourself. If you’re traveling with three or four people, then you would order an UberX. UberX is usually at least €4 more expensive than UberPOOL, but if you’re traveling with more than two people, it’ll be worth paying more to have all your party in the same car.

UberX is the cheapest option while using Uber for getting to the airport because most times, the driver won’t be picking up anyone else, so you get the benefit of UberX for the price of UberPOOL.

Airport price points for UberX

From Paris (11th arrondissement) to Orly Airport: €29-40
From Orly Airport to Paris (17th arrondissement): €40-54
From Paris (11th arrondissement) to Charles de Gaulle Airport: €37-50
From Charles de Gaulle Airport to Paris (11th arrondissement): €36-49

Here’s a rundown of the other Uber option in Pari:

UberGREEN is the same price as UberX but it means that you will be riding in electric or hybrid vehicles. There’s no option to have an UberPOOL with UberGREEN — you will pay the full price of the whole car.

UberACCESS is the same price as UberX and UberGREEN. It means that you will be riding in a car that has wheelchair accessibility. There’s no option to have an UberPOOL with UberACCESS — you will pay the full price of the whole car.

UberVAN has room for up to six people in the ride. It is more expensive than UberPOOL and UberX.

Berline is Uber’s French version of UberBLACK. It offers high-end rides with professional drivers in a luxury vehicle. It is the most expensive Uber service in France.

 

Paris at Night

Driving through Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Photo: Olivier

A quick note about other ways to get around Paris

Lyft

For those wondering about Lyft, it currently does not operate in Europe, so you can’t use it in Paris.

Taxis
If you don’t want to deal with ride-sharing apps, a taxi from Charles de Gaulle Airport or Orly Airport to Paris (and vice versa) is fixed at a flat rate. CDG is €50 for the right bank and €55 to the left bank, while ORY is €35 to the right bank and €30 to the left bank.

Have you used Uber in Paris? Tell us about your experience and what tips you use to save.

The post Uber in Paris: How to find the cheapest rides appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo

Why Prices Go Up in Countries That Were Cheap

a large middle class in Mexico

The cheapest places to travel around the world are still a bargain, don’t worry. The 5th edition of The World’s Cheapest Destinations will have more of them this time too, thanks to improving infrastructure in the Balkans and a few currency exchange declines. This doesn’t mean prices stay constant though and the refrain of, “That […]

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Source: Cheapest Destinations

4 Things I Loved About the MSC Seaside

Over spring break, my husband and I took our kids and my parents for a cruise on the MSC Seaside out of Miami. We booked a balcony cabin on the 15th floor, and we had an awesome time! Our cruise set us back almost $2,500, and we got a free “Drinks On Us” package to boot. I would absolutely cruise the MSC Seaside again. Here are four reasons why:

1. Kids ages 11 and under cruise free on some MSC itineraries.

Part of the reason we were able to get a balcony cabin over spring break for $2,500 total is the fact that kids under the age of 11 cruise free on the itinerary I chose. Due to this perk, we only had to pay government taxes and fees for our kids to cruise. That made a huge difference in the price we paid, and ultimately, that was why we opted for a balcony cabins instead of an inside room.

2. The waterpark was amazing.

The MSC Seaside has an enormous waterpark that sits right next to the indoor “jungle pool.” And this isn’t just a dinky waterpark with a few slides! The MSC park has several huge waterslides that are big enough for even adults to enjoy, and they even have slides with floats that hold two people. You’ll also find a splash park for kids with a small children’s pool. My kids are 8 and 10 and they absolutely loved the pool on the MSC Seaside!

3. The MSC Seaside has great dining options.

While the buffet food on the MSC Seaside was just “good” as normal, I think the ship has really stepped up its options in its specialty dining rooms. Specifically, we thought the food at the Asian Market by Roy Yamaguchi was spectacular. We also ate dinner at the Butcher’s Cut restaurant with my parents, and it was good. The best part about dining on the ship is the fact that you could find food almost 24 hours a day. Even during weird hours like 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. or late night, you could always get basics like pizza in the main buffet.

4. Our balcony cabin had a couch that turned into bunk beds.

Finally, we loved our balcony cabin on the MSC Seaside. Not only was it spacious, but we loved the way it was set up for families. Instead of a fold-out couch that inevitably takes up floor space, our balcony cabin had a couch that turned into bunk beds. We loved this feature because it made our room seem much bigger. The bunk beds also didn’t need to be “put away” every day, so there was less hassle involved overall.

The Bottom Line

If you’re considering a cruise on the MSC Seaside, make sure to sign up for their newsletter so you get access to the best deals. Also consider their status match program, which will match you to a similar hotel or cruise line status you already have. As an example, I was able to match to MSC Black status with my Hilton Diamond status.

Also, make sure you pick up a credit card that lets you redeem points for cruises. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is a smart option since you earn 70,000 miles after you spend $5,000 within 90 days. This card lets you redeem miles for any travel expense over $100 (10,000 points), so it’s perfect for helping families save money on their cruise fare.

Have you ever cruised with MSC Cruises? Why or why not?

[Featured Image: MSC Cruises]

Source: frugal travel guy

One Phrase You Should Stop Using If You Use Points and Miles

Travel credit cards let you earn points and miles that can be used to save money on travel or pay for exorbitant travel expenses most couldn’t normally afford. I have personally redeemed miles for airfare and hotel stays that would have cost me thousands of dollars, and for that I am forever grateful.

But I still get sick to my stomach when I read headlines that say things like: “I Traveled to Bora Bora for $200!” or “Learn How I Got This $20,000 Vacation for $272!”

Sometimes authors don’t get to choose their headlines, and I get that. But these headlines still send the wrong message. Travel rewards can help you save money, but they don’t make travel free.

Travel Expenses You Will Have to Pay For

No matter what some blogger says about how they traveled to a far-flung destination for a few hundred bucks, it’s important to take their story with a grain of salt. Sure, they might have packed their suitcase with snacks and subsisted off free breakfast and concierge lounge snacks over their week-long vacation in the Maldives, but are you going to do that? That’s the real question you should answer.

In almost every case, traveling anywhere is going to require you to pay for food. You can rent an Airbnb so you have a kitchen to cook in, and you can take advantage of any free food options your lodging affords, but you will still wind up paying for some food no matter where you go.

And, don’t you want to pay for food? I can tell you that, when I was in Italy last week, I indulged in plenty of pasta and Aperol Spritz because, well, eating is part of the journey there. It would be pretty sad to travel to Italy and avoid all the delicious cuisine in order to stay under some arbitrary spending limit.

In addition to food spending, what about miscellaneous purchases? Souvenirs? Taxis when your legs are too tired to walk? Transportation to and from the airport? An Uber ride to the airport, or daily parking charges if you drive yourself?

These are just some of the “extras” you need to pay for, but the list grows exponentially longer when you travel with kids. When you’re a parent, there are times when you choose to spend money to keep kids happy, whether that means letting everyone sit down and rest with an ice cream cone or splurging for some other treat.

Travel Isn’t Free

There are plenty of ways to save money on travel, and I try to use as many strategies as I can. But I’m also honest about the fact that travel isn’t free! You can pay for the bulk of your trip with airline miles, hotel points, or flexible travel rewards, but you will spend money in ways you can’t even imagine — especially if you’re a parent.

So, read all the travel stories with clickbait headlines and marvel at the outrageous spending claims if you want. But when it comes to your own trips, it’s best to be realistic about your travel budget and plan your finances accordingly.

What are some travel expenses that have surprised you over the years?

[Featured Image: Shutterstock]

Source: frugal travel guy

Venice: New additions to our hotel guide

Whether you are planning your first trip or you are just shy of being a local, Venice is a real treat for all. Picturesque canals are everywhere, and there seems to be romance around every corner.

It’s all of this charm and beauty that makes the city so popular, meaning the hotel business is certainly thriving.

As such, we regularly revisit Venice to make sure we make it easy for you to find the best budget-friendly hotels in each neighborhood, whether they are new or old. Here are some of our most recent affordable hotels added to our guide.

Hotel Lisbona

Address: Calle Barozzi 2153
Rates from $69 

If you are looking for classic, Venetian decor to round out your trip, you’ll find no shortage of it at Hotel Lisbona. Rooms are adorned in wall-brocades and Baroque-style furniture, all of which you’ll also find in the lobby and dining area as well. It’s a great spot for couples, as most of the rooms overlook the romantic San Moisè’s canal. Nearby, you’ll find a bustling shopping district and easy access to monuments and landmarks in the city. Snuggle up in a romantic room at Hotel Lisbona.

Hotel Orion

A peek-a-boo view of Venice at Hotel Orion.

Hotel Orion

Address: S.Marco Spadaria 700/A
Rates from $78

Just a quick walk from Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square, the two-star Hotel Orion offers classic, comfortable guestrooms at reasonable rates. Rooms are rather simple, but exposed wooden ceiling beams and vintage furnishings add character. Basic amenities are included, such as air conditioning, private baths, minibars and free Wi-Fi. Get a great deal on rooms at Hotel Orion.

The al fresco dining patio at Locanda Antico Casin.

Locanda Antico Casin

Address: Corte Contarina 1520/A
Rates from $101

Nestled in an 18th century building near St. Mark’s Square, Locanda Antico Casin offers modern rooms that both contrast and complement the historic building. Each room comes with plenty of amenities, including air conditioning, flat-screen televisions and free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included in the nightly rate, and we highly recommend enjoying it on the sunny rooftop terrace. Book a sleek, amenity-packed room at Locanda Antico Casin.

Hotel Violino d’Oro is housed in a canal-side building from the 1700s.

Hotel Violino d’Oro

Address: San Marco 2091
Rates from $106

For a luxurious-yet-cheapo stay in Venice, Hotel Violino d’Oro is a good bet. Rooms are elegant and chic here, with chandeliers and sophisticated color palettes. There are all the amenities you’d expect: air conditioning, private bathrooms with tubs, flat-screen televisions and free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included in the nightly rate and includes a spread of homemade sweet and savory offerings. Enjoy a budget boutique stay at Hotel Violino d’Oro.

The rooms at Hotel Colombina just ooze with style.

Hotel Colombina

Address: Calle del Rimedio 4416
Rates from $120

Hotel Colombina offers rooms outfitted in traditional Venetian style for rates that often fall well within our Cheapo range (beware of high season, of course, when rates for such a charmer can really soar). Rooms overlook the canal, and top-floor rooms have the added bonus of views of St. Mark’s bell tower and dome as well as the Palazzo Ducale. Breakfast is included, and there is also a bar on-site. Stay in a lovely room with stunning vistas to match as Hotel Colombina.

The post Venice: New additions to our hotel guide appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo