Heidelberg, Germany: Simple ways to save on your trip

With a hilltop castle, charming old town and historic university — complete with a “prison” for misbehaving students, in use until 1914 — Heidelberg, Germany is truly the storybook European town of every tourist’s dreams.

Unfortunately, the adorable town is also the most expensive tourist destination in Germany, even beating out the notoriously pricey Munich. To make sure this lovely city doesn’t take you from prince to pauper, we’ve gathered a few of our best tips for saving on your visit.


Simple Budget Travel Tips for Heidelberg, Germany

Getting around town

By foot

Obviously walking is always the cheapest option. Since Heidelberg, Germany is a small city, it also easily walkable. So slip on a pair of comfortable shoes and stretch your legs while you take in the “real” Disneyland flair of the place.

blue bike share in Heidelberg, Hermany

Take cheap rides around town on the VRN nextbike. Photo: pilot_michael

By bike

Like many cities in Europe, Heidelberg, Germany is a very bike-friendly town, and cycling around is a great way to get to know the city while also squeezing in a healthy bit of exercise. VRNnextbike, a bicycle rental tied to the public transportation system, offers day rentals for €9 once you register (free of charge) on their site. Shorter rides are available, too, from the cheapo rate of €1 per 30 minutes.

There are also several bike rental shops throughout the city, with prices ranging between €12 to €15 for a day rental of a city bike with a cute little basket.

By car

If you’ve come by car, whatever you do, don’t expect to drive your way around the old town. Parking is both hard to find and extremely expensive. A better choice, budget-wise, is to drop your things off at the hotel and then park outside the city center, taking the bus or train back into town.

blue and white bus driving through street of Heidelberg, Germany

The HeidebergCARD covers public transit. Photo: byte

Save with the HeidelbergCARD

If you’re not in the mood for any extra sportiness or plan to venture outside the city, you should definitely consider picking up HeidelbergCARD. The card can be purchased as a 1- to 4-day pass (from €17 to €21) and covers your rides on all buses, trams and certain trains within the greater Heidelberg area. It is also available as a family pass (€40 for 2 adults and 3 children up to 16).

Aside from transit, the card also grants you special discounts on many guided tours, museum entrance fees, selected restaurants, as well as other perks.

Aerial view of Philosophenweg, a walking path by the river in Heidelberg, Germany

Deep thoughts and postcard views along the Philosophenweg. Photo: Ashley Van Haeften

Free thinking along the Philosophenweg

Luckily, one of the most spectacular things to do in Heidelberg, Germany is also absolutely free of charge. The Philosophenweg (Philosopher’s Walk) is a path through the vineyards once cherished by Romantic German poets, artists and philosophers for its beauty and solitude.

You can still follow the path where these learned souls once tread — now complete with gardens and informational plaques. Along the way, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with gorgeous views over the Neckar river, Old Town and Heidelberg castle.

If you’re in the mood for a longer trek, you can venture further up Heiligenberg (the mountain) and check out the ruins there, including an 11th-century monastery and the remnants of a 4th-century Celtic hill fort.

Budget places to stay in Heidelberg, Germany

With so many tourists heading to Heidelberg, Germany, hotel rooms don’t usually come at bargain rates. However, there are a handful of budget-friendly places to stay, although many of them are outside the city center. Here are a few favorites:

large brick hotel building of the St. Georg hotel in Heidelberg, Germany

The Zum Ritter St. Georg is located smack in the city center.

Near the city center

LOTTE
A comfortable hostel near most of Heidelberg’s main sites. Dorms, double and family rooms range in price from €26 to €70 a night.

Steffi’s Hostel Heidelberg
Hostel close to the main train stations. Prices range from €18 per person (10-bed dorm) to €45 (double room for one person). Family rooms available.

Hotel Zum Ritter St. Georg

Located in the Altstadt along the famous pedestrian shopping strip, the St. Georg is a four-star hotel in a historic building, offering 37 very comfortable rooms that sometimes come down into surprisingly cheapo-friendly territory. Our searches brought up rooms during the summer for €110.

Search all hotels in Heidelberg, Germany.

tan and green exterior of Hotel Scheid in Heidelberg, Germany

The darling little Hotel Scheid.

Outside the city center

Hotel ISG
Located in the suburb Boxberg, Hotel ISG is a friendly budget hotel that features some trendy Bauhaus design touches. Prices for a double room range between €96 – €160, depending on the room and season.

Hotel Restaurant Schied
A nice, quiet hotel located on a hillside in the suburb of Schriesheim. (Note that the hotel is a 30-minute walk up from the tram stop Schriesheim Bahnhof, so the place might not ideal if you plan on hitting the pubs until the wee hours of the morning!) Prices range between €67 for a single room to €112 for a four-bed room.

breakfast dishes topped with eggs in cast iron skillet pans

Ja, bitte. Eggs, bratkartoffeln and Käsespätzle at Brauhaus Vetter. Photo: pie4dan

Shopping, eating and drinking tips

Avoid tourist traps

If you’re hankering for a dirndl or black forest cuckoo clock to bring to the folks back home, whatever you do, don’t buy them on Hauptstraße in the Old Town — everything there is overpriced and sure to be stamped somewhere with “Made in China.” You’ll have better luck finding that unforgettable souvenir if you venture off the beaten path to one the little side streets to the right and left of the main strip.

Do-it-yourself BBQ

In the summer, you should definitely consider having a little impromptu BBQ along the banks of the Neckar river. You can buy a cheap disposable grill at the hardware store Bauhaus, located at Kurfürsten-Anlage 11, just south of Bismarckplatz. From there, it’s an easy walk to Neckarwiese (Neckar meadow) on the northern bank of the river where you can set up the grill. Grill up those sausages and pop open a brewski while mingling with locals.

Everybody’s welcome at the student canteen

Another great tip is the Mensa in Marstallhof (Marstallhof 3), the most beautiful university canteen in Germany, replete with a beer garden! The Mensa is open to the public until 11 p.m., and the bar, which boasts the cheapest beer prices in the city, is open until midnight.

And if you’d like to see where the local students get their groove on, check out Untere Strasse, a street that runs parallel to Hauptstrasse and the river. The street is pack with bars and pubs frequented by the university crowd, including Destille, a funky, authentic pub complete with a fake tree in the middle of the bar.

Share your tips for saving in Heidelberg, Germany

Have more tips about ways to save when visiting Heidelberg, Germany? Please leave a comment below! And if you’re looking for cheapo tips, here are 50 budget travel tips for Germany.

The post Heidelberg, Germany: Simple ways to save on your trip appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo

8 travel myths about London to stop believing

Thanks to EuroCheapo correspondents across Europe, we now know that all Parisians aren’t the height of chic, and that Barcelona isn’t full of sangria-guzzling locals. Now it’s time to leap on the next Eurostar to debunk a few London travel myths.


8 Debunked London Travel Myths

Like many places, London has many popular misconceptions about it. We’re debunking the top eight London travel myths, with additional travel tips along the way, to make your next trip the best (and most budget-friendly!) it can be.

1. Londoners are rude

The first unveiled truth in our list of London travel myths is that Londoners aren’t rude. Of course, London can be a frantic city, with so many people rushing to get to places and seemingly no regard for the lone, lost tourist in their way. Or what’s perhaps more spooky: the ghostly silence on a rush-hour tube as nobody speaks to each other, despite being pushed closer to each other than you’d probably want to get with your best friend. Like Paris, we’re a mixed bunch of people, but the average Londoner is usually more than happy to help if asked.

And we’re shy. We’ve got that reputation for a stiff upper lip for a reason. Strike up a conversation, and chances are we’ll join in—we’re just waiting to be asked.

2. Londoners are unfailingly polite

On the other hand, decades of period dramas have given us a reputation for politeness that we perhaps don’t deserve. Admittedly, it can be hard to work out when we’re being rude, as it’s hidden under so many levels of niceties, unfathomable to anyone who is not British born and bred. But we’re used to no one understanding us: learn to play the rules, and you’ll get along just fine.

That includes, if you crash into someone with your rucksack by accident and they say they’re sorry, that’s your cue to apologize profusely. And do remember to get on our right side, literally, by obeying the “stand on the right/walk on the left” rule on tube escalators. You’ll soon be embraced like you’re one of our own (i.e. we’ll happily ignore you).

London Park

Sure, London is a city, but there are more places to escape than you think, like St. James Park. Photo: Jayaprakash R

3. London is busy

Well, there’s undeniable truth in this one. But with a population of around 8.3 million (compared to 2.21 million in Paris and just under 800,000 in Amsterdam), what would you expect? You can, however, do yourself some favors in how you approach the city. Visit around British holidays—Christmas, Easter, the “Bank holiday” weekends at the beginning and end of May—and you’ll find a much calmer city: basically because a large number of London residents use the time to leave town.

If that isn’t an option, be savvy about when you move about the city. Why squeeze yourself onto a Tube full of grumpy office workers at 8 a.m. or 6 p.m., if you’ve got the freedom to travel later? And there are plenty of opportunities to seek out some quiet spots in the city, such as its many beautiful, peaceful parks. In fact, there’s an entire book devoted to “quiet London”.

London Tube

The Tube can be quick, but it’s not always your best option to get around town. Especially with such an expensive fare. Photo: Phil Ostroff

4. The Tube is the best way to get around London

Speaking of the Tube, it’s undoubtedly an easy and convenient way to get across the city. But it’s not the best way to see the city for many reasons. The first is in that word “see”: Exploring London is much more fun if you can see the sights when walking, taking a bus, or perhaps using one of the “Boris bikes”.

The second reason is that, with the exception of taxis, it’s the priciest way to see London (a single fare in zone one is £4.70 without an Oyster card, compared to £2.40 on a bus).

Finally, it’s often not the quickest way to get about in central London—the Tube from Covent Garden to Leicester Square takes nine minutes, compared to only two minutes if you walk it.

London Off Guard

Not all of London’s iconic art rests in museums. Case in point: this piece by Banksy. Photo: DigitalParadox

5. You must visit the Tower of London and London Eye

You really don’t. London is a large city, and it’s an old city. It’s stuffed full of attractions, where you could merrily spend your time and money, not to mention the hundreds of nice cafes, bars and shops that keep its residents happy and amused.

Instead of seeing “the sights”, seek out what really interests you instead: whether it’s Charles Dickens, street art or an overstuffed walrus. London has got something for every taste. Have fun exploring that, rather than standing in line for hours to get a glimpse of a wax Princess Kate (unless wax really is your thing…).

British Museum

Some of the most brilliant museums in the world call London home. And many, like the British Museum, will cost you absolutely nothing to get in. Photo: Chris Robinson

6. London is very expensive

Another London travel myth is how costly it is to travel here. Sure, it can be: transport and entrance fees all add up. Not to mention accommodations, if you don’t stick to our suggested affordable hotels.

But there are ways to make it cheaper: London has some great street food to keep you full and in pocket (check out our market guide for starters). We’re also immensely proud that so much of our culture is free: You can walk straight into Britain’s most popular tourist attraction, the British Museum, and soak up thousands of years of history without paying a penny. Same goes for the National Gallery, the Natural History Museum, the V&A, the Science Museum and many more. (Here’s our full list of free museums to help you plan ahead). Visit London and you can come back smarter, and not necessarily that much poorer in the process.

Shoreditch

Like this street scene in Shoreditch, today’s London is a contrast of old and new living together side by side. Photo: Kaustav B

7. Londoners are either cockneys or lords of the manor

Perhaps sadly for us all, London no longer represent a scene from Mary Poppins. The cliché of the salt of the earth cockneys, compared to the upper crust gents living in their grand piles, simply no longer applies (if it ever did).

London is astonishing for its mix of people and cultures and how it welcomes people from all over the world. And, perhaps compared to a city such as Paris, how it all exists right alongside each other: old and new, rich and poor. Traditionally cockney areas of East London are now home to some of the most fashionable restaurants in town, as well as more long-standing traditional businesses. This invigorating blend is one of the reasons why visiting London can be so supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

football fans

Londoners love a good football game, but not everyone is obsessed or out for a scrum. Photo: bamberry

8. It’s a city of football hooligans

The behavior of a small minority of English soccer fans has given us an unsavory international reputation. This just isn’t true for the vast majority of fans, or indeed the vast majority of English people for whom football is, basically, the national sport.

There’s no better time than now to try and understand the always hopeful/always-prepared-to-be-disappointed English footballing psyche. Football will be dominating the screens of our pubs and clubs, and there are plenty of ways to get involved in a relatively civilized manner. We’ll even allow you to cheer for your own team (as long as they aren’t playing England, obviously).

The post 8 travel myths about London to stop believing appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo

5 Destinations Where Your Dollar Will Go Far

There’s nothing simple about world economies. However, the one simple rule that has been true for several decades is that American tourists benefit when the dollar is strong. American travelers can often make their money go three or four times as far when visiting popular destinations around the globe during strong-dollar seasons. Many people are setting their sights on international travel now that the dollar’s strength has reached a 30-year high. The current upswing that the dollar’s value is seeing is making right now a great time to see the world. What’s more, many business owners in countries around the world are more than happy to see those dollars being spent on food, lodging, entertainment, keepsakes and more. There are actually quite a few destinations out there that will give you some serious bang for your buck when planning a vacation. However, some offer especially robust experiences that you might want to take advantage of while the spending is good! Take a look at five incredible destinations where the dollar is strong.

South Africa

South Africa is famous for its port cities, beautiful nature preserves and status as a gateway to the rest of Africa. Tourists can enjoy the fact that $1 USD is equivalent to about R14 ZAR at the time of publication. That means that travelers can enjoy a meal at a high-end restaurant in Cape Town, a stay at a luxurious lodge in a game reserve and much more for a fraction of what they might pay for an adventure of equal exquisiteness in another destination.

Anyone looking to get away to South Africa may want to look closely at what United Airlines has to offer for tickets in 2020. United recently became the first carrier to offer direct service between New York/Newark and Cape Town, South Africa. Service officially began on Dec. 15 of 2019 on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. The new route cuts down on travel time between New York and Cape Town by about four hours.

Brazil

Travel in Brazil can also be a bargain these days. The value of $1 USD is equivalent to roughly R$4 BRL at the time of publication. Visitors can enjoy luxury hotels and high-end restaurants for surprisingly low rates right now. Of course, there is another reason why Brazil should be on your radar if you’re looking for a fun destination to explore in Latin America. Brazil recently did away with its pricey entry visas for Americans! That means that you can play without paying! A visa waiver for American tourists is good for 90 days of travel.

Hungary

Hungary should definitely make your list if you’re looking for a destination in Europe that can provide a cheap getaway. The value of $1 USD is equal to roughly 295 Ft HUF at the time of publication. That means you can explore all that there is to see and do in Budapest for what can seem like practically nothing if you snag some ultra-cheap airfare. The city’s thermal baths, amazing castles, Roman-era squares and pristine parks along the banks of the River Danube are pure magic!

Vietnam

Vietnam has historically been a pretty affordable vacation destination for Americans. However, the affordability is really off the charts at the moment. The conversion rate stands at $1 USD equaling roughly ₫23,000 VND at the time of publication. This jewel of Southeast Asia is famous for its Buddhist temples, vibrant cities, stunning rivers and beautiful beaches. Many visitors enjoy cave excursions, guided tours of the Mekong Delta and luxury golf resorts just outside of Vietnam’s small villages. The grand city of Hồ Chí Minh delights visitors with its bustling outdoor markets, glowing palaces and cathedral made entirely of materials imported from France! The one thing that consistently impresses American tourists is just how friendly and welcoming the atmosphere is for tourists from all over the world.

Mexico

Mexico has been a favorite destination for “cheap” and sunny getaways among Americans for quite a while. The fact that Mexico offers such great beaches so close to the United States makes it easy to plan a luxurious cruise or long weekend at a resort. We’re seeing $1 USD equal roughly $18 MXN at the time of publication. The strong dollar combined with the fact that many resorts offer steep discounts at slow times of the year means that you can plan a very luxurious holiday in Mexico for very little money if you time everything correctly. Many travelers focus on the stunning white-sand beaches in spots like Cancún and Riviera Maya when planning Mexican getaways. In addition, spots like Los Cabos and Tulum also traditionally offer some pretty great deals. The fact that Mexico is experiencing a slowdown in its tourism industry at the moment could mean that you’ll essentially be able to name your price even when booking during spring break and other prime times of the year.

Plan Your Trip Around the Strong Dollar

This is a really opportune time to take a look at what’s available in terms of airfare and hotel rates if you’re interested in taking advantage of the strong dollar. All five of the destinations above are worth seeing even when the dollar isn’t quite so strong. However, the fact that you’ll be getting a built-in discount every time you book a room, pay for entry to an attraction, stop for a cup of coffee or pick up a trinket to bring back home should give you that extra incentive you need to get out there and see new parts of the world! Keep in mind that actual currency values and conversion rates fluctuate daily. However, you aren’t likely to see huge fluctuations that will totally disrupt your trip if you’re planning to travel within a few weeks or months of your booking date. You should always clarify any questions you have about booking charges when paying for hotel rooms, excursions, transportation or entry to attractions ahead of time in a foreign country. This will help you to ensure that you really are getting the best deal possible based on the dollar’s current strength.

Source: frugal travel guy

L’As du Fallafel dishes up the best €8 meal in Paris

Looking for a tasty bite to eat in Paris without breaking the bank? Unfortunately, that’s a pretty tall order in this city, where it’s hard to find a meal for under €10 that isn’t McDonald’s. It feels wrong to eat at fast food in Paris, one of the culinary capitals of the world. So what’s a Cheapo to do? Introducing: L’As du Fallafel, a Paris staple and budget-friendly foodie dream.

More ways to save in Paris:


The Best Cheap Meal in Paris

Nestled into the cobblestone streets of the trendy Marais neighborhood, L’As du Fallafel is a sure bet for your next meal in Paris, where you can get an amazing falafel sandwich for only €8.

How to order at L’As du Fallafel

L’As du Fallafel (French for “the Falafel Ace”) sits on Rue des Rosiers, a charming and windy little street in the heart of Paris’s historic Jewish neighborhood. As you approach the restaurant, you will most likely find a line of hungry and excited fellow Cheapos waiting to get a falafel to go. There’s always a line, but don’t worry; it’ll move quickly. You will be approached by the restaurant staff to place your order and pay before you reach the window. This is a great way of handling the crowd, so hats off to the restaurant for efficiency.

Don’t be scared by the line. It moves quickly. Photo by Andrea Shaffer

It goes without saying that you should order the falafel sandwich to go. You can get it spicy or not spicy, your choice. Hand over your €8, wait patiently, show your receipt to the front window. Voila, you’ll have yourself one tasty and budget-friendly Parisian meal.

What €8 gets you at L’As du Fallafel

L’As du Fallafel dishes up a relatively large pita filled to the brim with crispy fried falafels, garlicky hummus, harissa, crunchy pickled red cabbage, cucumbers, and perfectly fried eggplant. We recommend getting a fork and plenty of napkins as you leave to prevent a mess. If you can bear to wait a few minutes before digging in, walk to Place des Vosges, a beautiful nearby park. Here, you can lounge on the grass after finishing this delectable Cheapo phenomenon. In addition to this gorgeous park, don’t forget to check out these 25 free things to do in Paris.

Contact and hours for L’As du Fallafel

L’As du Fallafel is located at 34, rue des Rosiers (Métro: St. Paul). If you plan to Uber there, here are some tips to get the cheapest ride. They don’t have a website, but they can be reached at (33-1) 48-87-63-60. The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and closed Saturday.

Looking to save for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the City of Light? This guide will help you find cheap eats in Paris.

The post L’As du Fallafel dishes up the best €8 meal in Paris appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo

My Thoughts about American Airlines Testing Paid Access to Flagship First Dining

American Airlines is testing paid access to Flagship First Dining. The price? Gratuitous food pictures? Click through because you like both knowing the price of things and seeing awesome food pictures.

The post My Thoughts about American Airlines Testing Paid Access to Flagship First Dining appeared first on Andy's Travel Blog.

Source: Andys travel blog

The best budget hotels in New York for 2020

A visit to the Big Apple usually means a towering price tag for your hotel. But that doesn’t have to be the case when you check into one of the best budget hotels in New York.

As you probably know, on EuroCheapo we keep a full list of cheap hotels in New York. But we thought we help simplify your research for you a bit, so we explored the most popular neighborhoods in Manhattan to find the very best deals in town.

From charming guesthouses to chic hotels with rooftop bars, the New York hotel scene can fall within your budget — if you know where to look.

More tips for NYC
The full list of cheap hotels in NYC
Cheapo Guide: Visiting New York on a budget
How to save on New York City hotels
10 easy ways to save on your trip to New York 


The best budget hotels in New York City

We combed through our New York listings to find 10 hotels that offer excellent locations in the heart of Manhattan, high ratings from guests, and most importantly, an affordable rate. Each also has a little extra something that pushes them to the top. Book in advance to save even more!

HI NYC Hostel

Neighborhood: Upper West Side
Rates from $46

One of the largest hostels in North American, Hostelling International New York is located in a gorgeous building just a few blocks from Central Park on the Upper West Side. If you want to stay in a classic New York neighborhood, it’s hard to beat the location. There’s laundry facilities, a kitchen, a TV lounge, and a nice little cafe. When you need a break from the dorm rooms, you can hang out on Manhattan’s largest private outdoor patio.
Read the full review

Pod 51

Pod 51 is popular for their sleek design in tiny spaces with tiny prices.

Pod 51

Neighborhood: Midtown East
Rates from $107

If you want an eye-catching hotel without the eye-popping price, Pod 51 could be right up your alley. The chic and efficient design is everywhere you look, and even though the rooms are minuscule, the offer tons of amenities like LCD TVs, free Wi-Fi, adjustable lighting, and climate control. Even the tiny bathrooms come with rainfall showerheads and eco-friendly spa products. As night falls, head up to the roof deck for a sweeping view of the Manhattan skyline.
Read the full review

Ridge Hotel Roof

You can’t beat the view from the rooftop deck at Ridge Hotel.

The Ridge Hotel

Neighborhood: Lower East Side
Rates from $140

What happens when you mix boutique with budget? Welcome to The Ridge Hotel on Houston Street where rooms have handsome wood floors, exposed brick walls, and flat-panel TVs. The famous Katz’s Deli is just a two-minute walk, and all of the bars and clubs make it a fun place for people looking to taste the New York nightlife. Plus, not many affordable hotels offer a roof garden with views of the Empire State Building!
Read the full review

Leo House

It’s easy to love the location of Leo House on 23rd Street.

Leo House

Neighborhood: Chelsea
Rates from $131

Looking for something different than your average chain hotel? Leo House fits the bill with simple but clean rooms in an amazing location in the heart of Chelsea. Since it’s run by a Catholic non-profit organization, you can expect crosses and religious decor throughout the building. Rooms come with Wi-Fi and your choice of a shared or private bathroom. Enjoy a break from the city in the peaceful garden or the on-site chapel.
Read the full review

Relax in the clubby lobby of The Jane Hotel.

The Jane Hotel

Neighborhood: Greenwich Village
Rates from $98

Have you ever dreamed of living in the West Village? Spend a few days in this charming neighborhood when you book a room at The Jane Hotel. The cheapest rooms feel like snazzy cruise ship pods with bathrooms down the hall. Upgrade to a “Captain’s Cabin” for a little more space and your own bathroom. Ask for one of the free bicycle rentals to ride along the scenic Hudson Greenway right across the street.
Read the full review

Hotel 31

Hotel 31 offers a slice of classic New York for a low price.

Hotel 31

Neighborhood: Murray Hill
Rates from $102

It’s getting harder and harder to find quality independent hotels in Midtown, but Hotel 31 keeps chugging along with some of the cheapest prices in Manhattan. If you’re expecting fancy decor, look elsewhere, but for a dependable stay around $100, you’ll be happy with your room. Tourists will love that the Empire State Building is a five-minute walk away.
Read the full review

Seafarers & International House

We like the bright corner rooms at Seafarers & International House.

Seafarers & International House

Neighborhood: Union Square
Rates from $115

You don’t need to be a sailor to take advantage of the cheap and clean rooms at this friendly guesthouse. Rooms won’t win any awards for design, but they do have flat-screen TVs and complimentary Wi-Fi. Take a stroll to the Union Square Farmer’s Market or explore the East Village located just a few blocks south of the hotel.
Read the full review

Colonial House Inn

The art-filled lobby of the Colonial House Inn. Photo: Facebook

Colonial House Inn

Neighborhood: Chelsea
Rates from $135

With only 20 rooms boasting original artwork, the inn feels more like a cozy New York City apartment building than a typical hotel. Nestled on a lush street in Chelsea, Colonial House Inn also offers a gay-friendly atmosphere with deep roots in the community. And did we mention all rooms come with free breakfast? That’s a rarity in the Big Apple!
Read the full review

Ameritania Times Square

Rooms are super stylish and surprisingly cheap at Ameritania Times Square.

Ameritania at Times Square

Neighborhood: Times Square
Rates from $140

Stay in the center of the world, a.k.a. Times Square, at this 3-star hotel. Luckily, the trendy decor in all of the 223 rooms doesn’t add up to a high bill at Ameritania. Central Park is just five blocks away, and Broadway theater fans will be close to the biggest shows. Cheapos can find excellent prices especially if they reserve in advance. For a classic city view, ask ahead for a room facing Broadway. While you are in this bustling part of the city, be sure to check out some of our favorite cheap eats near Times Square, too.
Read the full review

Pod Hotel

Would you sleep in a bunk bed? We would with the prices at Pod 39!

Pod 39

Neighborhood: Midtown East
Rates from $103

Sure, the rooms — we mean “pods” — are small, but where else can you find boutique-style quality for such a low price this close to Grand Central Station? From the comfy beds and free Wi-Fi to the rooftop bar, Pod 39 is everything we love in a cheap New York hotel. The fact that every room comes with a private bathroom just sweetens the deal.
Read the full review

Looking for even more deals on a hotel in the Big Apple? Search all of our listings for budget hotels in New York.

The post The best budget hotels in New York for 2020 appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo

The Truth About Travel Insurance

The biggest assumption about travel insurance is true: you don’t need it until you need it.

Whether or not you’re a believer in Murphy’s Law, one glance at the current state of travel should be enough to convince you to look for insurance. Flight delays and cancellations are rampant these days (American is reportedly canceling an average of 140 flights per day in the absence of the 737-800 Max).

The more complicated your itinerary, the more likely something will go wrong. What happens when you arrive at your destination but your luggage doesn’t? What if you’re racing through the airport and you slip and break your ankle? Or what if your tour company goes bankrupt leaving you stranded in a foreign country?

For all these reasons and more, travel insurance is a good idea. There are countless scenarios that will make you grateful if you have it: you can’t board your cruise ship because of problems with your connecting flight or your trip is canceled due to a natural disaster.

Yet, all travel insurance policies aren’t created equal. Here are some factors to consider:

Age

If you’re young, healthy and seemingly indestructible, you still need travel insurance. Airlines lose the luggage of young people just as easily as their older counterparts and acts of God don’t respect youth. Age is a factor that compels you to look at the real reason for travel insurance: anything can happen.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Unless you’ve never had a health issue of any sort, consider getting the pre-existing condition waiver. If you had the flu eight months earlier and you come down with pneumonia, you could suddenly find yourself responsible for huge medical bills. Pre-existing conditions may be defined by the insurance company as any treatments, exams or diagnostic tests (or the recommendation for them), as well as a change in prescribed medications. The waiver is well worth the additional cost.

Medical Coverage

Speaking of medical bills, remember that your existing health insurance coverage isn’t valid outside the U.S. This applies to Medicare as well as private insurance supplied by your employer. Before you commit to a policy, take a close look at what medical costs are covered.

The Ability to Cancel

If you book early enough (usually within 30 days of your initial payment), you have the option to purchase the ability to cancel for any reason. This is an expensive option and may not be worth it for everyone. If you don’t choose it, make sure you look at the approved reasons for cancellation (death or illness of a family member, job termination or transfer, etc.).

Insurance Offered by the Airline or Cruise Line

Should I take the insurance offered by the airline or cruise line? In most cases, no. While those policies are usually offered at attractive prices, there are frequently large gaps in the coverage. Make sure you read all the details before coming to a decision.

Cheap Is Cheap

While we’re on the subject, remember that you almost always get what you pay for. Lower-cost policies tend to offer less in the way of coverage, particularly in crucial areas. Unfortunately, the reverse is not necessarily true: the most expensive policy won’t always give you the best coverage. Always read the fine print.

Shop Around

Thanks to the internet, this one is easy. Sites such as squaremouth.com or insuremytrip.com let you customize your personal information and compare quotes from dozens of carriers.

Be Extreme at Your Own Risk

If you enjoy skydiving, mountain climbing, snowboarding or similar adrenalin-producing hobbies, be aware that most policies won’t cover you. You’ll have to take out an additional rider which is guaranteed to be costly. To figure out if you really need it, think about exactly how much you trust the attendant at the bungee jumping station in Thailand.

Evacuation Insurance

This is the far-fetched scenario no one wants to think about: you suffer from a condition or an injury and have to be airlifted out of Borneo to your hospital in Cleveland. Unfortunately, it does happen and adding a million dollars of evacuation insurance to your policy doesn’t increase the cost dramatically.

Check for Overlap

Before you pay for coverage, check to see what you may already have. There are credit cards that provide benefits such as trip cancellation and delay insurance, lost baggage and baggage delay insurance, and even evacuation coverage. You may not be aware of them since you hardly ever use them, but it pays to go online and read about your credit card benefits before taking out a policy that duplicates them.

How much does travel insurance cost? The possibilities are open-ended, but a good rule of thumb is between 5-10% of your total trip cost for a comprehensive policy: If your trip runs $5000, figure between $250-500 to be covered for most important eventualities. The cost will vary according to factors such as your age, length of your trip and destination, but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Source: frugal travel guy

If You Experience Flight Delays, Hope That It’s a European Flight

flight delays

I’ve done a lot of flying the past few weeks and as the odds would have it, experienced several flight delays. Some were a half hour or an hour, which is no big deal if you don’t have a connection, a huge deal if you do. When there are flight delays because of weather, this […]

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Source: Cheapest Destinations

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Sapphire Reserve

When the Chase Sapphire Reserve was unveiled in 2016, it electrified the credit card universe. It was perceived as Chase’s answer to the American Express Platinum Card, and it became the card that everyone wanted in their wallet. It introduced a new generation to the concept of travel and dining rewards, and it also set off a new round of competition in the points and miles world that ended up benefiting everyone.

In fact, the Sapphire Reserve created such a stir that it seemed to eclipse the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which was once the hot card in its own right. The reality is that both cards have a great deal going for them; even though the Sapphire Reserve has higher earning rates and better benefits, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the ideal card for you.

What’s the Best Way to Choose Between the Two?

Let’s start by looking at the details. Chase Sapphire Reserve provides the following benefits:

  • Triple points on dining and travel, one point on everything else.
  • Signup bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 90 days.
  • Points worth 1.5 cents each when redeemed through the Chase Travel Portal.
  • Lounge access with Priority Pass Select.
  • $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • Primary car rental insurance coverage for theft and collision up to $75,000.
  • Coverage for roadside assistance up to $50 per call, four times each year.
  • Trip cancellation insurance, trip delay insurance, baggage delay insurance and lost luggage reimbursement.
  • Travel accident insurance up to a value of $1,000,000.
  • Purchase protection up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year.
  • $75 authorized user fee.

The annual fee is $450; however, there’s a $300 travel credit that is applied automatically each year which effectively brings the fee down to $150.

Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a similar but slightly different set of perks:

  • Double points on dining and travel, one point on everything else.
  • Signup bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 90 days.
  • Points worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed through the Chase Travel portal.
  • No lounge access, and no Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit.
  • Primary car rental insurance, excluding “exotic and expensive cars.”
  • Roadside assistance with a $59.95 charge for each call.
  • Trip cancellation insurance, trip delay insurance, baggage delay insurance and lost luggage reimbursement (identical to the Reserve).
  • Travel accident insurance up to a value of $500,000.
  • Purchase protection up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per year.
  • No authorized user fee.

The annual fee on the card is $95.

The Case for the Reserve

If you travel or dine out frequently (or both), this is the card for you. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are among the most valuable currencies out there, and you’ll be able to earn them quickly; in addition, they’ll be worth more if you choose to redeem them through the Chase Travel portal. This is the only card that offers primary car rental insurance, which functions in the same way as your auto insurance policy and compensates you directly rather than reimbursing you in case of theft or accident. Don’t be put off by the $450 annual fee, as the travel credit reduces that to $150.

The Case for the Preferred

This is an unusually valuable card with a strong set of benefits for a low annual fee. The signup bonus is 10,000 points higher than the Reserve. In addition to duplicating many of the travel perks of the Reserve, it also allows you to transfer points to Chase’s 10 airline partners and three hotel reward programs. There’s no authorized user fee, and you still receive primary car rental insurance.

Here’s another important point to consider: Reports indicate that approval criteria for the Reserve have tightened up considerably in the past year. If you really want the Reserve but aren’t sure if your income or credit score would qualify for the card, your best bet is to apply for the Preferred first. Establish a track record as a valuable Chase customer, and you’ll probably be able to upgrade to the Reserve in time.

You also need to be mindful of the Chase 5/24 rule. Simply put, Chase restricts approvals to consumers who have opened five bank cards or less within the past 24 months. This applies to all personal bank cards, not just those issued by Chase (business cards don’t count, for the most part, since they don’t report to the credit bureaus). If there are Chase cards that you really want, it’s wise to apply for those first before your 5/24 total escalates.

Bottom Line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve are both valuable cards to have. While the Reserve is the better card, it might not be the best fit for your personal needs. Before applying, evaluate how often you travel or dine out to get the most benefits.

Source: frugal travel guy

9 Popular Travel Destinations on Sale in 2020

Indonesia travel bargain

Want to figure out where the international travel bargains will be this year? Want to go to one of the most popular travel destinations and still find a great deal? Well you’ve come to the right place. As the author of The World’s Cheapest Destinations, I keep an eye on the trends constantly and watch […]

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Source: Cheapest Destinations