France and Italy: Best 2 to 3 week itinerary for first-time visitors

Rome ColisseumThe only country that might be more magical than France for first-time visitors is Italy, and vice-versa. Even though Europe is filled with amazing tourist destinations these two countries seem to stand above the others, with France being the most visited country in the world and Italy having the most UNESCO World Heritage sites. For my own money, these two countries contain 3 of the 5 great European cities that everyone should see first.

Fortunately, these two countries also share a border so they are extremely popular to visit as a pair. They both also get so many tourists that all the major destinations are easy enough to visit without knowing the language at all, though learning at least a few words and phrases is simple and worthwhile. For these reasons, France and Italy are perhaps the most popular first trip to the European continent. Below we’ll discuss the cities you need to include and the minimum time in each, as well as some other itinerary planning tips. Click to read more

Is the Chicago CityPASS worth it? Chicago CityPASS review

Welcome to the ‘Windy City’, a tourist hub and one of the most visited cities in the United States. Here you’ll find attraction and activity, one after another, each showcasing a different side of Chicago. But with so many different choices, each costing a pretty penny, it can be hard to decide where to spend not only your time, but your money as well.

That’s where the Chicago CityPASS comes in. Designed to save both money and time, this particular pass is supposed to help visitors during their trip. But does it really? We’ll find that out and more below. Click to read more

Cheap things to do in Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagenas-fort-at-duskCartagena is possibly the most charming city in all of the Caribbean coast, with its cobblestone streets, towering cathedrals and brightly colored walls.

Horse drawn carts transport tourists throughout this quaint old town, and you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time as you navigate its narrow alleyways while salsa music thumps out of homes nearby.

A traveler’s hotspot in Colombia, Cartagena certainly isn’t the cheapest place to visit in the country. We paid US$60 for a basic double hotel room (including breakfast) and then around US$20 per person, per night in a six bed dorm at a hostel.

But if you’re smart you can find some bargain areas in and around the town, helping you save your pennies as you explore this picturesque city. Click to read more

Is the Dublin Pass 2015 worth it? We review value and prices here

GuinnessStorehouseAs popular as Dublin is for tourists, it’s actually quite compact and easy to visit in only two or three days. The Dublin Pass is a standard “city pass” that covers admission to pretty much every popular attraction in town for one flat price. The Dublin Pass doesn’t include public transportation, but most attractions are within walking distance for those staying in the city center anyway.

The most popular attaction in Dublin is the extremely entertaining Guinness Storehouse, and of course it is included in the Dublin Pass (including a free pint in the Gravity Bar at the end). Assuming you are planning on visiting the Guinness tour, it’s very likely that the Dublin Pass is a good idea, but we’ll run the numbers below. Click to read more

16 Cheapest Asia cities to fly into from the US

UnitedHongKongAs more people from the United States and Canada come to realize the amazing travel bargains and opportunities all over Asia, more of us are going. One of the challenges is that it’s such a huge part of the world and there are so many very different options. Especially if you plan on visiting more than one country, it can be confusing where to start and where to end.

The good news is that most of the flights from the US and Canada are probably cheaper than you’d guess, at least as long as you know about typical international airfares. Even though part of Asia (India, specifically) is literally on the opposite side of the world from the US and Canada, fares are often cheaper than much shorter flights to Europe.

We decided to run tests to see which cities are the cheapest for round-trip flights starting in the United States, and the results are below. Click to read more

Asia 3-Star Traveler Index for 2015: 31 cities from cheapest to most expensive

SingaporeCity1Asia is home to more than half of the world’s population, and it’s also home to most of the world’s great travel bargains. Even its big cities tend to cost half or less compared to those in the West for hotels, attractions, food, and drinks. Most of the popular cities are also in the Tropics, so they are ideal for sunshine holidays any time of the year.

Below you’ll find 31 of the most popular destinations in Asia ranked from cheapest to most expensive for 3-star travelers. They are ranked by a daily total that includes a well-rated and well-located 3-star hotel room (double occupancy) as well as an allowance for transportation, attractions, food, and drinks/entertainment. You’ll see below, that once you are on the ground, many things can be shockingly cheap, even in Asia’s most popular tourist cities. Click to read more

Europe 3-Star Traveler Index for 2015: 56 cities from cheap to expensive

While many of us have been backpackers and we all know at least a few luxury travelers, most of us are stuck somewhere in the middle. This is why we continue to update this Europe 3-star traveler index, since it gives a more realistic overview of costs for typical visitors to Europe.

Everything below has been totally updated for 2015, and expanded to include 5 more cities. The good news for those of us outside of Europe is that currency declines have made the whole continent noticeably more affordable than it has been in years.

For this 2015 edition we added Split, Croatia; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Bergen, Norway; Salzburg, Austria; and Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic. A few of these cities are fantastic bargains, especially now, so they deserve serious consideration of anyone planning a Europe trip in 2015. Click to read more

4 Australia and New Zealand cities by price: Backpacker Index for 2015

Queenstown ViewAfter several years of overvalued currencies, things in Australia and New Zealand are back to more normal levels as of early 2015. In fact, if you are American you will now find this part of the world to be reasonably cheap, though Europeans and Canadians may not.

The good news is that both countries have a robust infrastructure for budget travelers, with more hostels (called ‘backpackers’ usually) than almost anywhere else in the world. Self-catering will cut costs in both countries since even fast-food restaurants tend to be quite expensive. Camping or going with a group in a campervan is another good way of seeing a lot while spending less money. Click to read more

10 Africa and Middle East cities by price: Backpacker Index for 2015

Dubai Mall ViewUpdated for 2015, the Backpacker Index for Africa and the Middle East still remains a modest undertaking. Most of this area is pretty much forgotten by mass market tourism, and even the more adventurous backpackers will struggle to find hostels and cheap hotels with the amenities they like.

The good news is that most of the developed cities in the Middle East and Africa are relatively cheap, excluding Tel Aviv, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. Many budget travelers are shocked to find the prices in sub-Saharan Africa are quite high, at least for international-standard hotels and such. A good and recent guidebook can be a big help in this area, even while they become less necessary elsewhere. Click to read more

12 North American cities by price: Backpacker Index for 2015

Downtown Los AngelesThe United States and Canada continue to be popular for international budget travelers and backpackers, in spite of generally high prices from a global perspective. This ranking of 12 of the most popular destinations in the region has been updated for 2015, and the places didn’t change much. In fact, most cities are well bunched together, as you might expect from two countries that are so similar in most respects.

Most prices on tourist expenses were fairly stable in 2014, so the price tags didn’t change much at all. The one major change is that the Canadian Dollar slipped another 15% during the year compared to the US Dollar. This means that Canada will be noticeably cheaper than the US, including all of its top tourist cities listed below. Click to read more