15 Best March destinations in Europe in 2017

If you are coming to Europe in March you are obviously not looking for sunbathing destinations. Still, many of Europe’s best and most popular cities have surprisingly decent weather in March, so it can be an excellent time for a city visit. More good news is that most of southern Europe is mostly dry in March, so a light jacket or sweater is probably all you’ll need most of the time.

If you are looking for a warm-weather destination in March you should probably think about Asia or perhaps the Caribbean. As long as you don’t need it to be actually hot, the Canary Islands are warm and pleasant enough that some people do sunbathe in March, so it’s the first place on the list below. Click to read more

Europe 3-Star Traveler Index for 2017: 56 cities from cheap to expensive

Most of us start out as backpackers or budget travelers, and for that group we continue to have the Backpacker Index, which ranks all of the world’s major tourist destinations by price. But eventually most of us graduate at least to 3-star hotels, so we also continue to publish this list of all of Europe’s most popular cities ranked from cheapest to most expensive for 3-star travelers.

The rankings are mostly similar to the Backpacker Index, though there are some cities that are quite a bit higher or lower on one list or the other. If you are not going to be staying in hostels on your trip, the list below should be more useful than the other one. Click to read more

12 Best February destinations in Europe in 2017

February is honestly not one of the better months to visit Europe, but it’s far, far better than staying home. As long as you focus on the destinations that are more indoor-oriented and have mild weather, you can still have an amazing visit with almost no other tourists around.

If you are looking for a warm-weather February destination you should probably look somewhere other than Europe. There is only one place where you might get any use out of that bathing suit, which is the Canary Islands and listed just below. The other cities on the list are those that combine decent February weather and plenty of worthwhile things to do in winter. Click to read more

23 Cheap destinations for 2017 with great weather in May

Anyone looking for an affordable destination with very good weather during the month of May will be happy to know that the list of possibilities is long. There are fascinating cities in most regions of the world that are worth a look, as well as many affordable beach areas for those looking to relax in the sun. Many people are just interested in where is it hot in May, and the list below will answer that question as well.

The list below is broken down by region to help you narrow the choices of holiday destinations in May more efficiently, and there are also links to pages with information about the cheapest beach destinations in the Caribbean and in Europe, which both are loaded with bargains this time of year. Of course for each city mentioned there are plenty of smaller cities nearby that are usually even cheaper, so hopefully this gives you some ideas. Click to read more

6 Australia and New Zealand cities by price: Backpacker Index for 2017

Queenstown ViewUpdated and expanded for 2017, the Australia and New Zealand Backpacker Index includes 6 cities that are generally the most popular for foreign visitors. For the first time in a while, the currencies of both countries didn’t move much, and inflation was almost zero in both countries as well.

More 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

13 Africa and Middle East cities by price: Backpacker Index for 2017

Dubai Mall ViewUpdated and expanded for 2017, the Africa and Middle East Backpacker Index once again shows that travel is quite inexpensive to many popular cities, but some in this area are among the most expensive in the world. Generally speaking, Africa and most of the Middle East get very little tourism compared to the rest of the world, so one major problem is infrastructure. In other words, there may be a few international-standard hotels in the larger cities, but there aren’t many hostels or quality budget hotels.

Many people who travel in this region do so partly because it hasn’t been well trodden like Europe or most of Asia. Those travelers are probably best off with traditional guidebooks because there just isn’t much information online, at least that gets updated regularly. Fortunately, adventurous backpackers can spend a long time in this region and get very good value to go along with unforgettable experiences. Click to read more

13 North American cities by price: Backpacker Index for 2017

Downtown Los AngelesOur 2017 update of the North America Backpacker Index once again finds us with the unfortunate news for foreign visitors that the US Dollar continues to be unusually strong. This of course makes all the destinations in the United States quite expensive for those with any other currency. The good news is that Canada’s amazing tourist cities are all fairly cheap by comparison.

Inflation in the United States and Canada was very low again in 2016, so nominal prices haven’t shifted much. There is some good news in hostel prices, especially in New York City, where some new and popular hostels have suddenly made that city more within reach of a typical backpacker. Click to read more

16 South and Central American cities by price: Backpacker Index for 2017

Rio De JaneiroSouth and Central America are sometimes forgotten by residents of the rest of the world, but savvy travelers continue to flock to this region for a great variety of reasons. In addition to the cultural and scenic highlights, the entire area is quite cheap by international standards, at least once you are here. Backpacking in South America can be very inexpensive and mid-range travel can be surprisingly affordable as well.

This list has been completely updated for 2017 in late 2016, and most rankings stayed close to their 2016 levels. Most currencies in the region were stable, as was inflation, except for Argentina and Venezuela. Buenos Aires is a bit more expensive for foreigners in 2017, but it’s still an excellent bargain by most standards. And things in Venezuela have gotten so bad and so weird that it’s hard to imagine anyone is going there, or at least to Caracas, unless they know the city well already. We give up on keeping up with prices there as of this year. Click to read more

31 Asia cities by price: Backpacker Index for 2017

Hoi An BridgeOnce you get to Asia you’ll find most of the world’s best travel bargain cities, particularly in southeast Asia. We’ve updated and reranked all of the major tourist cities again for the 2017 travel year, and prices remain amazingly low in many wonderful places.

Many Asian currencies weakened against the US Dollar during 2016, but many other international currencies did so as well, so the region only really got cheaper for Americans. Inflation was very low in most tourist countries with only a few minor exceptions. Regardless, these Asian cities pretty much all represent fantastic bargains for foreign visitors, and airfares into the region are very reasonable this year as well. Click to read more

City Passes: Good value or good way to ruin a visit?

As summer is upon us, many of the world’s great cities are clogged with tourists racing from one famous attraction to the next. Especially on our first-ever visit to any famous city there’s a tendency to try to jam in as many of the ‘checklist’ attractions as possible, and buying a City Pass might seem like a very good option.

At this point pretty much every large city on the planet has at least one ‘City Pass’ available, which allows visitors to pay a flat fee upfront for a given number of days worth of free admission to various museums and other attractions. For each city they are obviously different, but oftentimes the math does make it look like they can offer great value. However, in many cases these cards might feel more like a ball and chain, so we’ll discuss who should consider them and who shouldn’t below. Click to read more