Travel en-US Best Money Tips: The Travel Edition <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-the-travel-edition-0" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="travel couple" title="travel couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some of the best articles from around the web on travel!</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href=";cof=FORID%3A10&amp;ie=ISO-8859-1&amp;q=travel&amp;sa=&amp;;ref=&amp;ss=568j81106j6">Ten Money-Saving Vacation and Travel Tips</a> &mdash; Packing smart and sleeping cheap can help you save money on your vacation. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="">Key Considerations to Help You Book the Perfect Vacation Destination</a> &mdash; When choosing your vacation destination, consider the people who will be traveling with you. [Three Thrifty Guys]</p> <p><a href="">Zoom Zoom - 8 Ways to Save Money at the Airport While Traveling</a> &mdash; To save money at the airport, bring your own reading material and stay out of the gift shop. [And Then We Saved]</p> <p><a href="">How to Be Smart and Safe With Money When Traveling</a> &mdash; Being discreet and using your gadgets can help you be smart and safe with your money when you are traveling. [The Money Principle]</p> <p><a href="">Saving Money on Attractions, Food, and Getting Around on Vacation; Lessons Learned</a> &mdash; Planning early, setting a budget, and asking locals for recommendations can help you save money on attractions, food, and getting around on vacation. [Debt Blag]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">How to Save on Getting to and From the Airport</a> &mdash; Staying at a hotel that offers a shuttle to and from the airport can cut your transportation expenses. [Money Under 30]</p> <p><a href="">5 Ways to Travel for Free</a> &mdash; Staying with a local or house sitting are just a couple ways you can travel for free. [Financial Highway]</p> <p><a href="">Save Time, Save Money with a Travel Packing Checklist</a> &mdash; Using a travel checklist will help you ensure you don't forget any essentials and have to spend money on things you left behind when you travel. [Money Saving Enthusiast]</p> <p><a href="">83 Extraordinary Travel Experiences of a Lifetime</a> &mdash; If you are looking for a travel experience of a lifetime, hug a sloth in Costa Rica or attend the Kentucky Derby. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">Travel Tips and Checklist for Parents</a> &mdash; It is vital for parents to bring entertainment when traveling with their kids. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: The Travel Edition" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel best money tips travel Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:00:05 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1147496 at Want to Cut Costs on Your Next Vacation? Go Green <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/want-to-cut-costs-on-your-next-vacation-go-green" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="travel tablet" title="travel tablet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you purchase an airfare, do you usually choose to pay a carbon offset fee? Have you even heard of a carbon offset fee? (It's a small amount to help compensate for the emissions from the flight.)</p> <p>The answer is very likely &quot;no,&quot; and that's ok. But if paying for trip already leaves you feeling too broke to pay any extra fees, there are other things you can do to minimize your impact on the environment while traveling. (See also: <a href="">10 Things You're Paying Too Much for When You Travel</a>)</p> <p>And unlike the carbon offset fee, these things will actually help you save some money.</p> <h2>Shop Local</h2> <p>What's the point of shopping during a trip if you buy mass-produced things you can easily get at home? The T-shirts, fridge magnets, and keychains you see at gift shops were probably shipped in from factories <em>elsewhere</em>.</p> <p>If you have to buy souvenirs, consider getting something local. For example, visit a market to see artisans at work and buy your souvenirs directly from them. The items you buy will be more meaningful and you'll help support the local economy. Not to mention give you a great opportunity to &quot;place drop&quot; when someone asks you where you got that new hat. (See also: <a href="">Why You Should Never Buy Souvenirs</a>)</p> <h2>Green Hotels</h2> <p>Some hotels differentiate themselves from the competition by their environmentally friendly practices that minimize water and energy consumption. There is currently no one prevailing set of global standards for green hotels, but you can often find them through certification organizations like the <a href="">Green Key Eco-Rating Program</a>.</p> <p>If you can book a green hotel, that's great. But even if you don't, it's possible to practice green habits at a non-green hotel.</p> <p>One of the best things about staying at a hotel is having someone clean the room for you. However, this could also be a wasteful practice as sheets and towels don't always have to be changed daily. If you want to reuse your sheets and towels, let the front desk or the housekeeping staff know.</p> <p>Other things you can do at the hotel include recycling, taking short showers, and turning off all electric devices when you leave the room.</p> <h2>Collapsible Food Containers</h2> <p>Think you can't fit food containers in your small carry-on? Think again. There are collapsible versions that can remain compact until you need to use them. They are not specifically marketed as travel items, but they would be perfect for complying with airline carry-on limits, which get stricter by the day. Just pack a <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001CT4WMU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=46VB5SOOACO5Q7N3">flattened container or two</a> in your bag, then expand them when necessary for take-outs, leftovers, and picnics.</p> <h2>Reusable Grocery Bags</h2> <p>When I travel, I like to book a suite with a kitchen. Shopping at unfamiliar markets and cooking with local ingredients can be an interesting experience in itself. This is why I pack a reusable grocery bag in my carry-on. It's small, light, and green. Plus, some grocery stores have started charging shoppers for plastic bags.</p> <p>Not everybody goes grocery shopping during a vacation, but do consider packing a reusable grocery bag regardless. These bags are more sturdy than regular plastic bags and would be great for trips to the beach and containing luggage overflow.</p> <h2>Public Transport</h2> <p>If there's a good public transport network at your destination, take advantage of it. You'll see how locals get around and maybe meet some interesting people along the way. It's also cheaper and better for the environment.</p> <p>If you plan to take public transit, check out the city's website for important information like maps, routes, and fares beforehand. These details will help you plan your itinerary and you may even learn some money-saving tips. For example, <a href="">Vancouver's public transit website</a> tells you that a book of 10 tickets is 24% cheaper than 10 single tickets.</p> <h2>Rental Cars</h2> <p>If you have to rent a car, go for the smallest one possible. A smaller car usually consumes less gas, and the car rental company often charges less for it. A hybrid car, if available, would be an even better, greener choice. If you're not familiar with the area, rent a GPS to help you find the shortest routes possible.</p> <h2>Reusable Water Bottles</h2> <p>Bottled water is often marketed as being a healthier alternative to the humble tap water, but the science behind this claim is debatable. At least in the United States, tap water is just as safe to drink as bottled water. Yet, the University of Maryland says <a href="">Americans spent $11.8 billion on 9.7 billion gallons of bottled water</a> in 2012 alone.</p> <p>Single-use water bottles are manufactured at great cost to the environment and most of them are not recycled after use. They're also highly attractive to tourists, who often find themselves walking around for long stretches, unprepared and parched. So if you travel to a destination where the tap water is drinkable, bring a reusable water bottle and save yourself some money.</p> <h2>Digital Reading Material</h2> <p>I used to bring one or two books with me when I traveled, but now everything is on my smartphone. This way, I have fewer things to pack and I can read in the dark before sleeping.</p> <p>Reading on a smartphone is not for everyone &mdash; it's small and it's often too bright. But tablets and e-readers are everywhere and most books are available in digital form. These e-books are often drastically cheaper compared to the printed versions, so you'll save money in the long run.</p> <h2>Access the Sharing Economy</h2> <p>The sharing economy minimizes overall consumption by encouraging people, who are often strangers, to share (actually rent) resources. Thanks to the Internet, there are many ways to take part in the sharing economy when you travel.</p> <p>For accommodation, look into vacation rentals (renting someone's home) through websites like <a href="">Airbnb</a> and <a href="">couchsurfing</a> (sleeping on someone's couch). For longer trips, you could try house-sitting (taking care of someone's home while they're away) through <a href="">HouseCarers</a> or <a href=""></a>. Alternatively, use <a href="">Intervac</a> or <a href="">HomeLink</a> for home exchange (staying at someone's home while the other family stays at yours).</p> <p>Instead of renting a car, you can try ridesharing, which is when a local drives you around for a small fee. <a href="">Lyft</a> and <a href="">Sidecar</a> connect ridesharers in some select cities. If you want something more private, go with peer-to-peer carsharing instead, which means you'll rent a local's car when she's not using it. You can find these cars on <a href="">RelayRides</a> or <a href="">Getaround</a>.</p> <p><em>How do you green your travel? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Want to Cut Costs on Your Next Vacation? Go Green" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Deia B</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Green Living Lifestyle Travel eco-tourism green tourism green travel sustainable tourism Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Deia B 1166920 at 19 Things Most Tourists Overpay For, and How You Can Avoid Them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/19-things-most-tourists-overpay-for-and-how-you-can-avoid-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="tourist shopping" title="tourist shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's almost a given that tourists overpay for things. Sometimes it's because we don't know the actual (local) cost, or are unaware of negotiating tactics. Sometimes we think we're getting a good deal, but are actually unwittingly crippling local economies.</p> <p>And before you think, &quot;I'm fine with overpaying, the money means more to them than me,&quot; think again. In some countries, the potential profits are so disproportionately high for locals that working in the tourist sector &mdash; even just selling cheap souvenirs to tourists &mdash; means a higher income than highly trained (and necessary) doctors, for example. This can shake economies negatively such that there's no incentive for locals to sustain their own infrastructure in aspiring towards valuable and necessary careers in their own country. If everybody wants to work in the tourism industry, and hard times hit the tourism sector, the local economy suffers unduly. (See also: <a href="">9 Travel Expenses You Forgot to Budget For</a>)</p> <p>And sometimes, it just sort of sucks to get ripped off.</p> <p>Whatever your motivation, your goal should be to get a fair deal. Here's how.</p> <h2>1. Souvenirs</h2> <p>Often, those little &quot;local&quot; trinkets were mass produced somewhere else for a song, and are being sold for &quot;locally handmade&quot; prices. Check out a few markets and shops before you buy; if you see identical stuff, it's not as special as it may seem. If you still want it, make sure it's priced (or negotiated down) accordingly. If you're in a foreign language country and you want to negotiate, learn a few phrases in the local language; you'll endear yourself much more to the vendor.</p> <h2>2. Hotel Laundry</h2> <p>$10 for a clean shirt? You've got to be kidding. Chuck some shampoo in the sink and hand wash that puppy. Or better yet, pack enough clothes to make this a non-issue. Who wants to spend vacation time fighting stains?</p> <h2>3. Taxis</h2> <p>Some dodgy taxi drivers will take you on the (not so) scenic route, if they're charging by the mile and it's obvious you're not familiar with the territory. Ask a local (such as hotel staff) how much a taxi should cost to your destination and how long it should take, and either pre-negotiate the fee with the driver, or if it's a metered cab, confirm with them how long it will take to get there.</p> <p>But the best way to avoid overpaying a taxi driver? Take public transportation instead.</p> <h2>4. Airport Junk</h2> <p>Almost everything at the airport is overpriced, especially after clearing security, since they have you hostage while awaiting your flight. Eat before you go, or take food with you. Bring an empty water bottle and fill it at the fountain after clearing security. And for goodness sake, don't impulsively browse airport shops.</p> <h2>5. Currency Exchange</h2> <p>You can't avoid currency exchange fees and commissions, but you can minimize them by avoiding airport currency exchange counters, and if you're using a credit card, decline the vendor's offer to charge your card in your home currency (which comes with extra hidden fees). (See also: <a href="">37 Hidden Travel Fees You've Probably Paid But Shouldn't Have</a>)</p> <h2>6. Flights</h2> <p>We don't always overpay for flights, but if you're like me, you're afraid you do. Just in case, use a site like <a href="">Yapta</a> to track prices and ensure you get the best price &mdash; even after you've bought your ticket. (See also: <a href="">How to Get the Lowest Price on Airfare Even After You Buy</a>)</p> <p>Don't forget about free or highly discounted flights with <a href="">frequent flyer miles</a> and <a href="">mystery shopping</a>.</p> <h2>7. Guided Tours</h2> <p>Many guided tours have higher overhead than necessary. Research the cost of average tours before traveling, and go local if you want a more local scoop. Also keep in mind that some cities (especially in Europe) offer &quot;free&quot; guided walking tours whose guides operate only on tips, meaning they're incentivized to make sure you have a great experience. (See also: <a href="">How to Tap Into the Local Scene While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>8. Minibar</h2> <p>Hotel minibars are categorically overpriced. Avoid overpaying by walking down the street and buying what you want locally.</p> <h2>9. Room Service</h2> <p>If you want to splash out and get (often mediocre quality, and always overpriced) food delivered to your room, go for it. Otherwise, you'll get better food at better prices in your hotel restaurant &mdash; and even better-priced food down the street.</p> <h2>10. Water</h2> <p>In some countries the local water isn't potable, but you don't need to buy bottled water. Some hotels have water coolers for you to fill your own bottle, or you can filter or sterilize water yourself, for example using a <a href="">SteriPEN</a>.</p> <p>And if you're in a country with potable water, there's no excuse for overpaying and creating waste with bottled water. Fill reusable bottles at fountains, or if you must buy bottled water, avoid overpriced concession stands in touristy areas.</p> <h2>11. Restaurant Gratuity</h2> <p>Few countries have such rich tipping policies as in North America. In most places servers are paid proper hourly wages, and tips are nice but not expected. And even if it's expected it's not 18% <em>plus</em>. Research tipping etiquette before you travel.</p> <p>Also beware of automatic gratuity being added to your bill. Before you chuck on an extra tip, read the fine print to ensure you're not double-tipping.</p> <h2>12. Hotels</h2> <p>Hotels aren't your only option for accommodation; hostels have comfortable options including private rooms, and for a more local experience, you can get <a href="">free accommodation</a> with hospitality exchanges, <a href="">home exchanges</a>, <a href="">house-sitting</a>, and more.</p> <h2>13. Meals</h2> <p>Restaurants in tourist districts are usually overpriced. If you want to (or need to) eat in that area anyway, lunch is a cheaper option than dinner, with a similar (if not identical) menu and portions.</p> <h2>14. Food at Concession Stands</h2> <p>Concession stands in parks, tourist areas, and amusement parks are consistently overpriced. Avoid overpaying by bringing your own food, or buying snacks at a local shop down the street.</p> <h2>15. Cell Phone Roaming</h2> <p>Taking your cell phone abroad with your home SIM card could result in hundreds of dollars of roaming charges, even if you don't use the phone. Avoid this entirely by having an unlocked phone and buying a local SIM card, or using an international SIM card with no roaming charges. (I'm currently using one from <a href="">G3 Wireless</a> that works like a charm.) And failing that &mdash; make sure your emails and Internet notifications aren't being pushed to your phone! It could cost you hundreds.</p> <h2>16. Airplane Meals</h2> <p>Don't assume meals are provided in the fare, even on long flights. Confirm whether meal service is included with your ticket, and if not, buy your meal at the airport. You're still paying more than you should, but it's less than you would if you wait until you're on the plane.</p> <h2>17. Car Rentals</h2> <p>Look for alternatives to renting cars like <a href="">car sharing</a>, <a href="">ride sharing</a>, or using a <a href="">vehicle delivery service</a>. If you must rent a car, remember that rates are negotiable, and you can usually get a <a href="">free upgrade</a> simply by asking for it.</p> <p>Also remember to check your credit card's automatic insurance policy so you can waive the comprehensive (and expensive) insurance offered by the car rental agency. (See also: <a href="">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>18. Foreign ATM Withdrawals</h2> <p>There are two things to be aware of when using foreign ATMs. One is that you should use bank-affiliated ATMS so you don't incur the extra fee (ranging from $1.50 to $5) charged by private ATMs. The other is to avoid withdrawal charges levied by your home bank (usually $5 per withdrawal).</p> <p>Some banks automatically refund ATM charges or offer free foreign ATM withdrawals. Check your bank's terms and conditions, and if necessary, upgrade your account to include free foreign ATM withdrawals (and maintain any necessary balance to avoid monthly charges for the upgraded account). (See also: <a href="">Using Your Credit Card While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>19. Baggage Fees</h2> <p>Baggage fees are becoming increasingly common when flying; avoid charges for overweight or checked bags by traveling with carry-on only (check out this <a href="">sample carry-on packing list</a>). And if you need extra carry-on room, check out <a href="">this sneaky little trick</a>.</p> <h2>Remember to Have Fun</h2> <p>Don't be so concerned about overpaying that you forget to have fun. I remember once getting really upset that I couldn't negotiate my desired price with a taxi driver &mdash; before realizing I was squabbling over the equivalent of less than a dollar. Be aware of the exchange rates, and don't sweat the small stuff (too much).</p> <p><em>What else have you overpaid for while traveling? Share your experience in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="19 Things Most Tourists Overpay For, and How You Can Avoid Them" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Nora Dunn</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel shopping travel travel costs travel ripoffs Tue, 22 Jul 2014 17:00:07 +0000 Nora Dunn 1163704 at The Guide to Staying at Hostels for People Over 30 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-guide-to-staying-at-hostels-for-people-over-30" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="hostel" title="hostel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While the term &quot;hostel&quot; seems synonymous with youth culture and student backpacking trips, I've met people of all ages and professions while staying in hostels. What many adult travelers don't realize is that hostels are great for business people, retirees, and even family vacationers who just want a clean bed to sleep in and a safe place to stash their luggage while they explore a new city.</p> <p>Most hostels I've stayed in throughout Europe cost anywhere from $40 to $70 per night, far less than hotels in the same cities. While I've met a huge array of people from all walks of life in hostels, I've found that people who prefer to stay in hostels are united by a minimalist travel philosophy more than anything else. I've met European aristocrats who stay in hostels because they don't see the value in paying for a hotel room that they will basically use as storage for their laptop computers and spare underpants. It's not just about stretching a Euro. It's about a type of travel experience that puts human interaction over privacy. (See also: <a href="">5 Reasons to Travel Off the Beaten Path</a>)</p> <p>If I could only give one piece of advice about staying in hostels as an adult it's this: <a href="">Read the online reviews</a> before you make reservations. Reading online reviews is the best way to avoid experiencing what my sister and I refer to as Wong Family Travel Blunders. And by blunder I mean our parents accidentally booking us into a Panamanian brothel for a family vacation. (In my parent's defense, the brothel's beachfront view was spectacular.)</p> <h2>Hostelling International</h2> <p>Official hostels are part of a huge network of hostels that operate under the umbrella of <a href="">Hostelling International</a>. HI requires a <a href="">membership</a>, which is basically just a card that costs $28 per year and gives you discounts and benefits such as currency exchange and free email access during your stay. If you don't think you'll be staying at least six nights a year in HI hostels, then you can stay at most official hostels for an additional $5 per night, and save a little money by not buying a membership. There's really no risk in not signing up for a membership in advance, as after six nights, HI will give you a membership. If you decide to pay as you go, make sure you pick up a &quot;guest card&quot; at your first HI hostel and get it stamped each day, so you can prove you've stayed the required six night minimum for membership.</p> <p>Although HI Hostels have to maintain safety and cleanliness standards to stay in the network (which is comforting) some official hostels still have curfews, daytime lock-out, limited check-in times, and other old-fashioned rules that are annoying to contend with as an adult business traveler who is arriving on the 3 a.m. train and doesn't want to wander the city streets until dawn.</p> <h2>Independent Hostels</h2> <p>Independent hostels are becoming more commonplace. Independent hostels are not part of the Hostelling International network and don't require a membership card. The benefit of independent hostels is flexibility; they don't have to conform to the rules and bureaucracy of Hostelling International. The drawback of independent hostels is that they don't have to conform to the rules of Hostelling International in terms of cleanliness. Also, while HI Hostels have gender-segregated dormitories, some independent hostels only have mixed-gender dorms and apartments.</p> <p>For women travelers who do not feel comfortable sharing communal space with men (or just want a make-up mirror and hairdryer in the bathroom) there are hostels that <a href="">cater to women</a> who are traveling solo.</p> <p>While there are <a href="">some</a> independent hostels that rival boutique hotels in terms of their charm, a lot of flea-bag hotels have started listing themselves online as hostels, since &quot;hostel&quot; apparently sounds more appealing than &quot;flop-house&quot; or &quot;roach motel.&quot; (Do your research or risk staying in brothel.)</p> <p>Although hostels supply guests with clean sheets and towels, you will have to supply your own soap and shampoo. While I don't enjoy schlepping extra toiletries with me when I travel, most hostels more than make up for this minor inconvenience by providing cheap or free Internet access and other money saving perks.</p> <h2>Book Early</h2> <p>Obviously, the best-reviewed hostels fill up early, especially during high tourism events like Oktoberfest and Carnivale. Make reservations early to ensure you'll have a place to sleep that fits your needs.</p> <p>Pro Tip: Call the hostel directly!</p> <p>Hostels, like hotels will usually hold a few beds for drop-ins, or don't update the online booking service when someone cancels a reservation. Even if the online booking service says there are no beds, it never hurts to double-check.</p> <p>Also, if you like a specific hostel, quiz the owner or manager for leads on other great hostels. I've been able to daisy-chain incredible vacation accommodations with no advance planning by asking my current hostel staff to reserve me a bed in my next destination city.</p> <h2>Co-Habitating with Kids</h2> <p>While I am usually twice the age of most of my hostel bunkmates, at age 44, I am rarely the oldest person at a hostel. In fact, Hostelling International offers a reduced membership rate for people over 55, which make hostels a great deal for senior travelers.</p> <p>Personally, I enjoy the company of Kids These Days, and likewise, exploring new places with people who are still full of vim and optimism about life. As a business traveler, sharing communal space with young adults is often a welcome respite after spending the day with grown-ups who view business travel as an inconvenience rather than an opportunity have fun.</p> <p>That said, I value my sleep, and make a point of avoiding hostels that have glowing reviews about their 24/7 <a href="">party atmosphere</a>. As a night owl, I hate lock-out curfews. They are infantilizing and cramp my late night snack schedule. As an old person who went to college, I love lock-out curfews because they force my bunkmates who are hardcore, binge-drinkers to spend the night barfing in the street and not in our shared shower.</p> <p>On a side note, because most car rental companies will not rent a car to anyone under 25 years of age, hostels in rural or suburban areas outside of the city center and beyond the reach of public transportation, usually cater to older people by default.</p> <h2>Consider Communal Spaces</h2> <p>While the classic hostel experience is sleeping in a twin bed, in a dormitory, and storing your luggage in a locker, many hostels offer private rooms or apartments with shared or private bathrooms. Sharing a private room in a hostel is a great way for couples to enjoy a romantic getaway on the cheap. Families can get a huge break on travel costs by sharing a suite or apartment.</p> <p>Hostels with communal kitchens can make a pricey vacation affordable. When I travel I eat the free morning meal that the hostel provides (which can be anything from a cup of coffee and a cookie to a huge buffet), and at night I make a simple meal of bread, cheese and fruit in the communal kitchen. Eating in the hostel for two meals allows me to blow my food budget on extravagant and memorable lunches.</p> <p>While I can count on one hand the number of bad shared bathroom experiences I've had in my life, take some precautions: Wear flip flops in the shower to avoid getting fungal infections and wake up extra early if you have an important morning meeting &mdash; you might have to wait in line for the shower. Also, if you are sharing one toilet with a number of strangers, be strategic about using it. Don't be the lady who pees in the sink of the communal kitchen because she waited until the last minute to go.</p> <p><em>Frugal travelers, please share the name of your favorite hostel, or your best hostel tip in the comments below!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Guide to Staying at Hostels for People Over 30" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Max Wong</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel cheap travel frugal travel hostels hotels lodging Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:00:29 +0000 Max Wong 1162783 at 15 Ways to Save the Most During a Hawaii Vacation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-ways-to-save-the-most-during-a-hawaii-vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="surfing" title="surfing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hawaii is a magical place that draws people from around the world.</p> <p>Nearly 8 million visitors came to the Hawaiian Islands in 2012, with close to 5 million from the U.S. alone! As more and more people visit, there are more and more hospitality businesses offering their services to travelers. Which means sometimes just getting started can be overwhelming, not to mention costly. (See also: <a href="">For Amazing Affordable Vacations, Travel Slowly</a>)</p> <p>To help you save the most in your next Hawaii vacation, here are the top 15 tips from a Hawaii resident.</p> <h2>Think Beyond Resorts</h2> <p>If you restrict yourself to resorts, you're imposing a major &quot;beach tax&quot; upon yourself.</p> <h3>1. Explore Other Hospitality Search Engines</h3> <p>Research shows that hotels have a <a href="">financial incentive to rig the reviews from sites</a>, such as <a href=""></a> and <a href=""></a>. By increasing a single point on TripAdvisor's five-point scale, a hotel could <a href="">increase its price by 11.2%</a> and still maintain the same occupancy. This means that you end up paying an extra premium.</p> <p>Here are some cheaper options to consider:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Airbnb</a>: Just for Honolulu, the site offers over 1,000 possible accommodations. A great advantage of Airbnb is that hosts often are willing to act as your guide, provide complimentary parking (most places charge for this!), and give freebies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href=""></a>: Young travelers (and young at heart!) may enjoy the option to interact with travelers from all over the world, while saving a buck. This directory includes hostels, such as <a href="">Hilo Bay Hostel</a>, <a href="">Banana Bungalow Maui Hostel</a>, and <a href="">Kauai Beach House</a>. Read the fine print and verify that you qualify for a stay before booking.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bed and Breakfast: There are several B&amp;B's across the Hawaiian Islands, however these smaller operations cannot afford to advertise as much as others. Start your search for the perfect B&amp;B with directories, such as <a href=""></a>, and the <a href="">B&amp;B Hawaii Island Association</a>.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Tip</strong>: Clear your browser cookies every single time that you visit any hotel booking engine, so that prices don't &quot;suddenly&quot; start going up, forcing you to book ASAP.</p> <h3>2. Dine, Shop, and Use Services Outside Resort Areas</h3> <p>Don't do this:</p> <ul> <li>Chowing on a burger at Aulani Disney Resorts costs you a cool $21, and that's before tax and tip, and parking (sorry, Mickey doesn't give parking validations).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Learning to surf right on Waikiki with starts at $60 per hour (with a group) and goes up to $110 per hour (with a private instructor).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Renting a snorkel set from a hotel is a double whammy: a poor fit that diminishes your enjoyment and a $12-$20 hit every rental.</li> </ul> <p>Do this instead:</p> <ul> <li>Eat a Flintstones-sized burger at local chains, such as <a href="">Kua Aina Burger</a> or <a href="">Teddy's Bigger Burgers</a>, starting at $5.99.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Rent a surfboard at local businesses outside the Waikiki area, such as <a href="">Blue Planet</a>, for about $19 for a whole day or $149 for a whole month.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Invest in a new snorkel set that fits you well at a local Walmart or Costco. In just two dives you'll make your money back, have a great experience, and may even be able to return the gear.</li> </ul> <h2>Enjoy Free Activities</h2> <p>The Hawaiian Islands offer unique experiences, and the best part is, many of them are free.</p> <h3>3. Hiking</h3> <p>Hawaii has lots of hiking trails. For example, in the Hawaii Kai area you can find the <a href="">Kuliouou Ridge Trail</a>, the <a href="">Koko Head Steps</a> (a.k.a. Nature's Stairmaster), and the <a href="">Dead Man's Catwalk</a>. Most hiking trails in Hawaii have no admissions fee and provide free street parking.</p> <ul> <li>Explore a <a href="">full listing of hiking trails</a> and select a trail that matches your fitness level.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bookmark sites that provide visual guides, such as <a href="">Unreal Hawaii</a> and <a href=""></a>, on your smartphone for your reference throughout the hike.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Be prepared and follow the <a href="">hiking safety guidelines</a> from the Department of Land and Natural Resources.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Among the very few trails that charge an admissions fee, the ones that are worth every penny are: <a href="">Diamond Head Crater</a> for its historic importance, and <a href="">Haleakala National Park</a> for its unique landscape.</li> </ul> <h3>4. Surfing</h3> <p>There is plenty of surf around the island. Locals stay on top of the latest surf forecast through the <a href="">Surf News Network</a>. Keep in mind the difference between regular height and Hawaii height of waves. In Hawaii, surf measurements are always in feet and scaled so the actual height on the face is roughly twice what's quoted.</p> <ul> <li>All beaches have public access by law, no one can charge you for surfing on the ocean.</li> <li>Avoid leaving valuables in your car, they are safer at home.</li> <li>Never surf alone in a beach that you've never been before.</li> <li>Oahu is chock full of opportunities to <a href="">catch a wave</a>.</li> <li>Pick a <a href="">surf spot</a> for your skill level; there are spots even for <a href="">beginners</a>.</li> <li>Wear plenty of sunscreen, and a <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=2237643011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=W6HKN4TY7EBXVD4A">rash guard</a> (think wetsuit T-shirt) is always recommended for long sessions.</li> </ul> <h2>Do What Locals Do</h2> <p>When in Hawaii, follow the locals for the most fun and affordable activities.</p> <h3>5. TGIF</h3> <p>Skip the flyers handed to tourists full of overcharged events, and read the TGIF section from the local newspaper, which comes out every Friday and is also <a href="">available online</a>.</p> <h3>6. First Friday and Last Friday</h3> <p>In Oahu, every <a href="">First Friday</a> of the month visit Chinatown (free admission) and every Last Friday, the <a href="">Honolulu Museum of Art</a> ($10 admission)</p> <h3>7. Block Parties</h3> <p>Honolulu offers free-admission block parties or celebrations in the Chinatown and Waikiki areas around the year, some examples are:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Honolulu Festival</a>: Marvel at the eclectic cultural mix that Hawaii offers.</li> <li><a href="">Waikiki Spam Jam</a>: Celebrating Hawaii's official &quot;meat.&quot;</li> <li><a href="">Lantern Floating Hawaii:</a> Beautiful tradition to remember our loved ones in May.</li> <li><a href="">Halloween's Hallowbaloo</a>: A major block party with costumed partygoers in October.</li> </ul> <h3>8. Important Landmarks</h3> <ul> <li>Visit important landmarks for great photo opportunities, such as the King Kamehameha Statue (both in <a href="">Oahu</a> and <a href="">Big Island</a>), and the <a href="">Duke Kahanamoku Statue</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Invest in visiting the <a href="">Iolani Palace</a>, the only real palace in the entire U.S. (admission starting at $14.75 for adults and $6 for children)</li> </ul> <h3>9. Eat the Street</h3> <p>A family friendly food truck event that takes place on the last Friday of every month in Kakaako. <a href="">Eat the Street Hawaii</a> gathers 40 food trucks and vendors from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. View the <a href="">full calendar of upcoming events</a> and check if one takes place during your visit to Oahu.</p> <h3>10. Yelp Bash</h3> <p>Attention Yelp fans and elites: the local community is very active and has <a href="">several free bashes</a> throughout the year. While the event is by invitation only, it doesn't hurt to submit your RSVP and see if you qualify. RSVP confirmations are usually emailed out 48 hours before the event. The events offer free food, drinks, and entertainment. Plus, you have the chance to meet new local friends during your stay.</p> <h2>Avoid Big Fines</h2> <p>While local culture has a pretty relaxed attitude, Hawaii still has laws that everybody needs to follow. If you don't, then be ready to pay up.</p> <h3>11. Don't Use Cell Phone While Driving</h3> <p>Using your cellphone while driving is fined with $207, and $307 in school or construction zones.</p> <h3>12. Respect Local Animals</h3> <p>Hawaii offers great opportunities to spot beautiful wildlife. For example, in Oahu you can get close to green sea turtles in the North Shore's Laniakea Beach and to dolphins out in the ocean in Waikiki. However, you need to keep your distance and observe the <a href="">suggested viewing guidelines</a>. If not, then there are fines for <a href="">disturbing animals in Hawaii</a>, ranging from $500 all the way up to $100,000.</p> <h3>13. Use Your Seatbelt</h3> <p><a href="">Click it or ticket</a>! If you don't and are caught, then you can be fined $102 on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii, and $112 on Kauai. Repeat offenders may get additional fines up to $500 and be required to take a four-hour class.</p> <h3>14. No Jaywalking</h3> <p>Be careful when crossing the street and wait until you have the right of way. In Honolulu, the top two spots that tourists get fined for jaywalking are Waikiki and Chinatown. The fine for not using the crosswalk or <a href="">ignoring the &quot;don't walk&quot; sign is $130</a>.</p> <h3>15. Agricultural Inspection</h3> <p>And before you leave back to the mainland, don't forget to let airport staff do the <a href="">agricultural inspection</a> for all your checked-in baggage bound. Otherwise, you may get a fine.</p> <p><em>How do you save during your Hawaii vacation?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Ways to Save the Most During a Hawaii Vacation " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel cheap travel free events hawaii vacation Fri, 18 Jul 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Damian Davila 1161525 at Castles, Ranches, and Other Weird, Affordable Hotel Alternatives <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/castles-ranches-and-other-weird-affordable-hotel-alternatives" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="castle hotel" title="castle hotel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="138" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you hear the phrase &quot;travel accommodation,&quot; do you automatically think of hotels? They're the safe, default option for many travelers. But forgoing hotels doesn't have to mean giving up cleanliness and basic amenities. And alternative travel accommodation is not just about hostels and <a href="">vacation rentals</a>.</p> <p>If you're ready for something truly different, try the following lodging options on your next trip.</p> <h2>Castles</h2> <p>If you're visiting Europe, why not get the full experience by sleeping in a castle? Castles have opened their doors to curious travelers who want to live like royalty and nobility used to. On some castle grounds, guests can even spend their days horseback riding, practicing their swordplay skills, and watching knights joust. The interiors of these castles are often furnished with appropriately antique-looking items. But despite the old-timey vibes, the facilities have been updated with modern fittings.</p> <p>Staying at a castle is a fun way to incorporate history into your trip, especially if you travel with kids. It's also a great story to tell when you get home. You can often find these castles listed on regular hotel booking sites, but they aren't grouped separately from regular hotels.</p> <p>For a list of these castles, visit <a href=""></a>.</p> <h2>Religious Guesthouses</h2> <p>If castles show you how the elites used to live, monasteries and convents offer a completely different type of experience, although you may still get the feeling that you've gone back in time. You don't have to be religious to stay in these guesthouses; you're usually welcome to stay as long as you respect their rules. Many of the guests may be pilgrims who take part in the masses and communal meals, but attendance is not required.</p> <p>The facilities at convents and monasteries are basic &mdash; you may not even get a TV &mdash; so ask questions and make sure you know what you're booking. Remember that these are religious buildings first and foremost. You may find crucifixes in the rooms, bedding configuration options are often limited, and there may be curfews.</p> <p>These guesthouses are not run for profit, so they're a great option for budget travelers. However, on the flip side, they are not listed on booking websites, so you'll have to do some sleuthing. If the place you'll be visiting is a common pilgrimage site, contact the local tourism office to find out if there's any religious guesthouse where you can stay.</p> <h2>Farms and Ranches</h2> <p>If you're one of the urbanites who sometimes fantasize about living on a farm, this is your chance to get a taste of it. However, your experience can vary wildly, depending on the particular farm.</p> <p>At the most basic end of the spectrum, there are farms where you can work in exchange for free lodging. If you have no money but want to see the world, these farms can dramatically cut your travel costs. You can find them through the <a href="">World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms</a> (WWOOF). Other such arrangements are also listed on <a href="">WorkAway</a> and <a href="">HelpX</a>, although you'll also find non-farm work exchange opportunities on these more general sites. (See also: <a href="">Volunteer to Travel: 11 Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel</a>)</p> <p>If you'd rather pay for the farm stay and relax, you have many options, including bed and breakfast inns, dude ranches, and cottages. These farms are usually independent, family-run establishments that you can find through the local tourism offices.</p> <h2>College Dorms</h2> <p>University dorms usually remain empty when there are no classes on campus, but there are some colleges that rent out these rooms to travelers. You can usually rent a dorm room for as long as three months &mdash; the length of a normal summer break.</p> <p>Living on campus can be an enjoyable experience. Many universities have libraries, museums, and gardens that you can visit. While usually spartan, a college dorm has all the basic amenities and is usually surrounded by shops and restaurants. The rooms vary widely depending on the particular building. There are all kinds of bedding configurations, some rooms have ensuite bathrooms, and some dorms even provide breakfast.</p> <p>Not all cities have college dorms where you can rent a room, so do your research before the trip. You can find and book these rooms on <a href=""></a>.</p> <h2>Backyards</h2> <p>Camping on someone's yard can be a great budget option if you like being in the great outdoors. You can often do it for free.</p> <p>For example, a man I met on a Greyhound bus told me that he was on his way to a family reunion and that his brother was attempting to reach the same destination by bike. His brother would cycle during the day and camp in people's backyards during the night. &quot;You'd be surprised how kind strangers can be if you'd only ask,&quot; he said.</p> <p>Granted, it takes a particularly adventurous traveler to attempt that kind of journey. If you're interested in the idea but want to connect with the homeowners beforehand, you can find them online through <a href=""></a>. Some of these homeowners will let you stay for free, but most will require you to pay a small fee. You'll most likely have access to basic amenities like bathroom facilities and electricity. Some homeowners may even provide you with camping equipment and breakfast.</p> <p><em>What's the most adventurous place you've stayed while traveling? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Castles, Ranches, and Other Weird, Affordable Hotel Alternatives" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Deia B</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel accommodations camping castles farms Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:36:15 +0000 Deia B 1157259 at 11 Things You Can Do in Philadelphia That You Can't Do Anywhere Else <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-things-you-can-do-in-philadelphia-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="independence hall" title="independence hall" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="146" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Philadelphia is nestled snugly between the nation's capital and New York City, the largest city in the U.S. Like a middle sibling that's often overshadowed by its other siblings, it's no wonder the city of brotherly love is often overlooked or &mdash; even worse &mdash; gets a bad rap. (See also: <a href="">9 Fun and Affordable Vacation Ideas</a>)</p> <p>Despite the fame and illustriousness of its east coast neighbors, this surprisingly large city (it's the fifth largest in the nation) has plenty to boast about. If you're looking to spend a day (or five) in town, check out these 11 things you can only do in Philadelphia.</p> <h2>1. Recreate Rocky Balboa's Run Up the Steps</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Join the tens of thousands of visitors who trek up the 72 steps to the entrance of the world class <a href="">Philadelphia Museum of Art</a>. From the top step, you can enjoy one of the most breathtaking views of the Philadelphia skyline. It's no wonder this gorgeous landmark that has been named the <a href="">second most famous movie location in the entire world</a>. Once inside, enjoy more than 300,000 works of art, including those from the Renaissance, American, Impressionist, and Modern eras.</p> <h2>2. Hang Where the Country's Forefathers Once Dined</h2> <p>Tour a hidden piece of Philadelphia history at <a href="">Hamilton's Mansion</a>, a forgotten treasure tucked away inside the Woodlands Cemetery in University City.</p> <p>Constructed in 1770, the house boasts what may have been one of the finest neoclassical interior spaces of its time, along with sophisticated servant's quarters that were among the first of their kind. &quot;When touring the home,&quot; says Marla McDermott, Chief Experience Officer and Lifestyle Concierge for <a href=""></a>, &quot;it's surreal to think that you're standing on the same original wood plank floors where guests like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin once dined. You just can't do that anywhere else.&quot;</p> <h2>3. See the Strangest Medical Oddities Ever</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>If you've ever wanted to see what a jar of pickled human skin looks like, well, now you can. At the <a href="">Mütter Museum of Medical Oddities</a> at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia you can see this and more, including a display of 139 skulls that were collected by a Viennese anatomist in the 1800s; 1300 jars of bottled body parts, cysts, and tumors; and even small slices of Albert Einstein's brain, carefully preserved in glass slides.</p> <h2>4. Visit One of the World's Finest Collections of Impressionist Art</h2> <p>The <a href="">Barnes Foundation</a> houses the vast private art collection of self-made millionaire Albert Barnes. From 1912 until his death in 1951, Barnes collected 19th and 20th century French masterpieces from the most daring artists of the time, including Cézanne, Renoir, Monet, Picasso, and van Gogh. &quot;If you're going to check out only one museum in Philadelphia,&quot; says McDermott, &quot;the Barnes Foundation is a can't miss.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Walk Through the Inside of a Giant Beating Heart</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Inside the Franklin Institute Science Museum you can walk through a <a href="">beating model heart</a> that's large enough for a person the height of the Statue of Liberty. Also explore a host of permanent and rotating exhibits, including Circus! Science Under the Big Top, 101 Inventions that Changed the World, and a rooftop observatory.</p> <h2>6. Get Spooked at the World's First True Penitentiary</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>(And yes, it's haunted.)</p> <p>The now vacant <a href="">Eastern State Penitentiary</a> revolutionized the penal system in 1829 with this imposing prison built to house criminals in solitary confinement. &quot;It's design was so innovative for it's time that it was the inspiration for Alcatraz,&quot; says McDermott. &quot;The prison also once housed famous criminals like Al Capone and Willie Sutton.&quot; Closed since 1971, the prison is now open to tour, year-round. If you really want to get scared, visit in October for <a href="">Terror Behind the Walls</a>, one of the most terrifying annual haunted houses you'll ever visit.</p> <h2>7. Take a Stroll Down America's Oldest Residential Street</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>People have been living on <a href="">Elfreth's Alley</a> in Old City since 1728, making it the oldest continually inhabited residential street in the nation. The National Historic Landmark consists of one cobblestone-lined alley that is flanked by Georgian and Federal-style homes and provides a glimpse at how the 18th Century working class smiths, glassblowers, and furniture builders once lived.</p> <h2>8. Eat the World's Best Cheesesteak</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Philly is famous for loading up a freshly baked hoagie roll (See? Where else will you get a hoagie roll but in this fine city?) with thinly sliced rib eye steak and then smothering it with heaps of fried onions and, depending on where you dine, either cheese whiz or melted provolone. Like all fine things, you'll find variations on the original, but this is the gist. <a href="">Dalessandro's</a> in Roxborough is a favorite but explore for yourself with this list of <a href="">top cheesesteak shops</a> in the city. Resistance is futile so come prepared with an elastic waistband. You've been warned.</p> <h2>9. Visit the Nation's First Zoo</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>The <a href="">Philadelphia Zoo</a>, opened in 1874, sits on 42 acres in the middle of the city and is home to 1,300 animals, including many that are rare or endangered. The zoo features a 2.5 acre primate preserve; Big Cat Falls, where visitors can stand eye-to-eye with 12 endangered big cats, separated only by a pane of glass; and a miniature African plain featuring white rhinos, reticulated giraffes, zebras, hippos, and gazelles. Throughout the zoo are statues of endangered animals, constructed completely out of legos. Peacocks and Peahens also roam the zoo freely.</p> <h2>10. See the Birthplace of Our Nation</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Philadelphia served as the backdrop for much of our country's battle for independence, and we have the <a href="">landmarks</a> to prove it. Visit Independence Hall, where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were created. The first continental congress met at Carpenter's Hall and the American flag was sewn at the Betsy Ross House.</p> <h2>11. Get In Touch With Nature</h2> <p>It's a little known secret to city outsiders but Philadelphia is home to the <a href="">largest landscaped urban park</a> in the world. There are 9,200 acres of nature across 63 parks, making it easy to access from almost anywhere in the city. You can go for a stroll, pack a family picnic, or grab your fishing rod for a day in the stocked creek. &quot;Few things beat spending a beautiful afternoon riding along the scenic Schuylkill River Trail, then looping around to Martin Luther King Drive,&quot; says McDermott, &quot;Especially on weekends from April through October, when the road is closed to auto traffic.&quot; <a href="">Rent a bike or segway</a> and start exploring.</p> <p><em>Do you know and love Philadelphia? We want to know your favorite spots! Share the love in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="11 Things You Can Do in Philadelphia That You Can&#039;t Do Anywhere Else" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Alaina Tweddale</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel Art and Leisure cheap fun history museums parks philadelphia Mon, 14 Jul 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1157690 at The Best New Travel Rewards Cards on the Block: Barclaycard Arrival World / Plus World Elite MasterCard <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-new-travel-rewards-cards-on-the-block-barclaycard-arrival-world-plus-world-elite-mastercard" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="travel credit card" title="travel credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="149" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes, you really need a good <a href="">travel credit card</a>. One that's on your side. One that has your back. The <a rel="nofollow" href=";fot=1141&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Barclaycard Arrival&trade; World MasterCard&reg;</a> and <a target="_blank" href=";fot=1141&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Barclaycard Arrival Plus&trade; World Elite MasterCard&reg;</a> are both great credit cards for a number of reasons. Let's dig in and see if they're right for you and your family!</p> <h2>Card Benefits: Points</h2> <p>For the Arrival Plus World Elite card, there is currently a <strong>sign-up offer</strong> for 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months of card membership. This is a great bonus, and at one cent per mile earned, that means it's a $400 bonus!</p> <p>You'll earn two miles per dollar spent on the card. There is no wondering which categories to spend your money on like with other credit cards. This one takes out all the dirty work and makes it super simple, giving you 2% back on every dollar you spend.</p> <p>For the Arrival World card, you&rsquo;ll see similar, but lessened, benefits. &nbsp;A <strong>sign up offer</strong> of 20,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first three months is up for grabs. You&rsquo;ll be able to earn two miles per dollar spent on the card when it's used for travel and dining purchases, while all other purchases will net you one mile per dollar spent.&nbsp;</p> <p>For both cards, you have several options for how to redeem your points. You can simply take the &quot;cash back&quot; option, which allows you to receive just that &mdash; money back! Or, you can take the better option, in my opinion, which is the travel reimbursement. Simply make a travel purchase using your credit card. Then, when it appears on your statement, select &quot;Pay Yourself Back.&quot; The eligible travel purchases will appear, and you can use your points to pay for all or part of your purchase in 2,500 point increments! As an added bonus, you'll receive 10% of your redeemed points back automatically, instantly, essentially earning 2.2 points per dollar!</p> <h2>Other Benefits</h2> <p>You'll receive a TripIt Pro subscription with both cards, which is a great service that I use often. It essentially culls through your e-mail, looking for travel reservations that are sent automatically when you book such things. It then automatically uploads that information to your TripIt account, and you have a nice tidy itinerary of all of your upcoming travels! TipIt Pro costs $49 annually, so it's a nice perk!</p> <p>Both cards also have no foreign transaction fees on this card, which is great because often cards try to charge you three percent of every purchase when international, and it makes them very ideally suited for travel use.</p> <p>Finally, you'll also receive your FICO score each month on your statement, so you can keep an eye out on your credit.</p> <h2>Costs</h2> <p>The Elite card has an annual fee of $89, which is waived for your first year. Considering the benefits, this card is well worth it.</p> <p>The World card, despite having lessened benefits, comes with no annual fees along with a special introductory APR&nbsp;of 0%&nbsp;for your first year on purchases and balance transfers.</p> <h2>Pros</h2> <ul> <li>Easy miles redemption</li> <li>Great sign-up bonuses</li> <li>Generous points system</li> <li>No foreign transaction fees</li> </ul> <h2>Cons</h2> <ul> <li>No transfer partners</li> <li>Fixed redemption rate</li> <li>$89 annual fee for the Elite card (but waived the first year)</li> </ul> <h2>Who These Cards Are Best For</h2> <p>I think both cards are absolutely the best for frequent travelers. They offers rewards for those that travel often, and makes it fee-free when using the card abroad. Even more so, each one offers regular card users a lot of points for using them consistently, and reports your credit score to you twelve times per year. <em><br /> </em></p> <p><strong>Click here to apply for the </strong><a rel="nofollow" href=";fot=1141&amp;foc=1" target="_blank"><strong>Barclaycard Arrival&trade; World MasterCard&reg;</strong></a><strong>.</strong></p> <p><strong>Click here to apply for the </strong><a target="_blank" href=";fot=1141&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow"><strong>Barclaycard Arrival Plus&trade; World Elite MasterCard&reg;</strong></a></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Best New Travel Rewards Cards on the Block: Barclaycard Arrival World / Plus World Elite MasterCard " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mark Jackson</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Credit Cards Travel barclaycard credit card review Fri, 11 Jul 2014 01:41:34 +0000 Mark Jackson 1145789 at How to Minimize Cell Phone Charges When You Travel Abroad <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-minimize-cell-phone-charges-when-you-travel-abroad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="international phone call" title="international phone call" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You can use your cell phone as usual when you travel abroad, but cellular providers charge outrageous fees for this service &mdash; and you can expect to find a huge phone bill in the mail when you get home. Instead, here aere are some economical ways for you to stay connected with your loved ones at home while traveling abroad. (See also: <a href="">Fantastic Phone Services for People on the Go</a>)</p> <h2>Know Your Roaming Fees</h2> <p>The simplest way to minimize your phone charges is to keep track of them. For a short trip, this is a great solution that doesn't require much time or effort.</p> <p>Every cell phone provider has a different set of roaming fees, so contact yours before the trip. They usually have different rates for calls, texts, and data. Additionally, the rates may vary from country to country. There may also be special roaming phone plans you can get to lower your international phone rates.</p> <p>Take note of all the rates that apply to every country in your itinerary, then keep track of your phone usage. You may have to use your phone less frequently to stay within your budget, but on the bright side, you can use the extra time to explore instead.</p> <h2>Turn Off Data Roaming</h2> <p>This is a quick and easy trick, but it can save you a lot of money during the trip. Your phone may be consuming data even when you're not actively using it, especially if you use push notifications.</p> <p>To completely stop data use while you're abroad, go to your phone settings and turn off data roaming. With data roaming off, you'll still be able to make phone calls and text. The phone will also retain the ability to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi, which may be free at airports and hotels. When connected to a Wi-Fi network, you'll also be able to use a VoIP service like Skype to make calls over the Internet.</p> <p>Alternatively, you can choose to turn off push notifications only. This way, you'll be able to use data roaming services without having to pay for superfluous automated data use. You can then choose to use data-heavy apps only when you're connected to a Wi-Fi network.</p> <h2>Turn on Airplane Mode</h2> <p>While abroad, you'll have to pay roaming fees when you receive phone calls and text messages, regardless of who's contacting you. Even if the phone call is from your gas company, you'll have to pay for every minute the representative blabs about the new green energy program.</p> <p>To completely eliminate the risk of mounting roaming charges, turn on airplane mode. This shuts off data service, phone calls, and text messages. You can still turn on Wi-Fi and connect to the Internet, so your family and friends can contact you through chat apps, social media, and email.</p> <h2>Use a Local SIM Card</h2> <p>If you travel a lot, consider getting an unlocked phone. By placing a local SIM card in an unlocked phone, you'll be able to enjoy local rates. This is useful when you need to get online or call local contacts like hotels or airlines. You'll have to pay international call rates to ring home, though, so it's best to stick with VoIP services like Skype for that.</p> <h2>Use an International SIM Card</h2> <p>If there are multiple destinations in your itinerary, you can get an international SIM card like <a href="">OneSimCard</a> or <a href="">Telestial</a> instead of a country-specific SIM card. These global SIM cards are generally cheaper than if you were to use roaming services on your U.S. phone plan, but more expensive than if you were to buy a local SIM card every time you entered a different country.</p> <h2>Rent a Phone</h2> <p>If it seems like too much of a hassle to get your phone unlocked, you can rent a phone instead. Global cell phone providers often offer this service. You'll pay a daily or weekly rental fee, the company will deliver the rental phone to you, and you'll be able to return it by mail at the end of your trip.</p> <p>A global phone rental usually also comes with a global SIM card and a short-term phone plan, making it an easy option for short trips. However, the call, text, and data rates with a rental global phone are higher than they would be if you used a local SIM card in your own unlocked phone.</p> <p>If you'll be traveling to isolated areas with little cell phone coverage, you can rent a satellite phone instead of a regular phone. The rates will be higher, but you'll be able to use the phone in most open spaces.</p> <p>In both cases, you'll get a phone number that your loved ones at home can use to contact you, wherever you are in the world. If you set your American home and cell phones to forward calls to your global phone number, you won't miss a call at all.</p> <p><em>How do you use your cell phone or smartphone while traveling abroad &mdash; without incurring excessive fees? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Minimize Cell Phone Charges When You Travel Abroad" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Deia B</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Technology Travel cell phone international calls roaming smartphone Thu, 10 Jul 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Deia B 1156615 at 8 Things You Can Do in Denver That You Can't Do Anywhere Else <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-you-can-do-in-denver-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="red rock ampitheater" title="red rock ampitheater" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I moved to Colorado to attend graduate school, and fully intended to return to my home in the Southeast upon graduation. That was eight years ago.</p> <p>In my opinion Denver's a dark horse among American metropolises. It's clean, easy to get around, chock full of fun things to do, and just a short drive away from the most beautiful mountains in the country. Looking for quick, affordable getaway? Keep reading for activities you can only do in the Mile High City. (See also: <a href="">9 Great Cities for Job Seekers</a>)</p> <h2>1. Smoke Legal Weed</h2> <p>If you haven't heard by now, Colorado is the first state to legalize marijuana for all adults over age 21. There are now approximately 100 legal <a href="">weed stores</a> in the Denver metro area hawking marijuana buds as well as THC-infused edibles of every shape and flavor. Been a while since you inhaled? Let one of the many <a href="">cannabis tour guides</a> do the driving for you.</p> <h2>2. Eat at a Restaurant Started by a Pal of Buffalo Bill</h2> <p>Henry H. &quot;Shorty Scout&quot; Zietz was a member of Buffalo Bill's infamous band of straight-shooting band of scouts. In 1893, Zietz opened the <a href="">Buckhorn Exchange</a>, a bar and restaurant that catered to cowboys, Native American chiefs, miners, railroad builders, silver barons, and anyone else brave enough to live in the Wild West. The Buckhorn Exchange is now in its second century of existence, and still holds the first liquor license ever issued by the State of Colorado.</p> <h2>3. Rock Out at Red Rocks</h2> <p>I've seen concerts in stadiums, iconic music halls, and even on a cruise ship. None hold a candle to the experience of attending a performance at Red Rocks amphitheater. This outdoor venue is both a geological wonder and a musical masterpiece. Known around the world for walls made of massive red boulders and superb acoustics, even a band you hate would sound good here. (See also: <a href="">25 Incredible Places You Must Visit Before You Die</a>)</p> <h2>4. See the Cliff Divers at the Real Casa Bonita</h2> <p>Before I moved to Colorado, I thought most of the places mentioned on South Park were fictional. I was wrong. Not only is <a href="">Casa Bonita</a> a real Denver restaurant, everything Cartman loved about it is real too: the treasure cave, the cliff divers, and yes, even the delicious sopapilla.</p> <h2>5. Stand Exactly One Mile High</h2> <p>The official elevation of the City of Denver is 5,280 feet &mdash; exactly one mile. Of course, the elevation varies in different parts around town. If you want to be a mile high (and you're not interested in the legal weed mentioned earlier) just head to the <a href="">State Capitol building</a>. The 18th step leading into the building is exactly 5,280 feet above sea level.</p> <h2>6. Visit 22 Craft Breweries in the Same Day</h2> <p>If you love to drink good beer from craft breweries, Denver should be the number one destination on your travel list. There <a href="">over 20 top notch breweries</a> in the downtown Denver area, from national brands like Blue Moon, to Colorado-only favorites like Breckenridge Brewery. Many of these breweries also offer tours in addition to tap room tastings. (See also: <a href="">10 Great Reasons to Drink Beer</a>)</p> <h2>7. Take a Train Up the Rockies</h2> <p>No trip to Colorado is complete without at least peeking at the majestic Rocky Mountains. You could spend all day hiking to the top of a nearby peak, or you could cheat by letting a train do the work. There are <a href="">eight scenic railroads</a> in the Denver area, and all of them will show you a side of the mountains people rarely get to see.</p> <h2>8. See a Cattle Drive</h2> <p>Although it's grown up and modern now, Denver is a cow town at heart. Once a year, the city embraces its ranch hand roots by welcoming the <a href="">National Western Stock Show</a>. This 14-day event features a full-sized rodeo, livestock auction, a cow parade, and plenty of 10-gallon hats.</p> <p><em>Know any other special to Denver activities? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Things You Can Do in Denver That You Can&#039;t Do Anywhere Else" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Beth Buczynski</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment Lifestyle Travel cheap fun cheap outings Denver travel Mon, 07 Jul 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1153954 at 8 Affordable Amusement Parks That Are Just as Fun As Disney <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-affordable-amusement-parks-that-are-just-as-fun-as-disney" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="amusement park" title="amusement park" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>School's out and it's time for summer vacation. You may be tempted to head down to Orlando and spend hundreds of dollars for a multi-day pass to Disney World.</p> <p>I love Mickey Mouse as much as the next guy, but it's worth learning about the plethora of other theme and amusement parks around the country that offer fantastic experiences for a fraction of the cost. (And may not be as crowded.) (See also: <a href="">Disneyland on the Cheap</a>)</p> <p>From the coast of Lake Erie to the outskirts of Hollywood, there are plenty of options for summer fun, usually with additional family-friendly attractions nearby.</p> <p>Check out these suggestions and start planning that family trip now!</p> <h2>Holiday World</h2> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Santa Claus, Indiana</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $34.95 for kids under 54 inches, $39.95 for adults if you buy online. Kids under 2 are free.</p> <h3>What's Great</h3> <p>The park is separated into sections based on popular holidays and is routinely rated one of the <a href="">most family-friendly in the country</a>, as well as one of the cleanest. It has plenty of great rides for adults and kids, plus the Splashin' Safari Water Park. The Voyager roller coaster is considered one of the best wooden coasters in the world. There are some interesting perks, like free parking, sunblock, and soda.</p> <h3>What's Nearby</h3> <p>You're less than three hours from Indianapolis, home of the world's largest children's museum, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and other attractions. Louisville and Lexington, KY are also just a couple hours away and have a lot to offer for adults and kids. Also, basketball fans can check out French Lick, the hometown of NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird.</p> <h2>Hershey Park</h2> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Hershey, PA</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $59.95 for adults, $37.95 for kids. Children under 2 are free.</p> <h3>What's Great</h3> <p>A dozen great roller coasters for adults and kids, plus an array of water rides. And it's adjacent to Hershey's Chocolate World, where you get to see how chocolate bars are made and get free samples.</p> <h3>What's Nearby</h3> <p>Hershey itself has some other great attractions, including a zoo and trolley museum. You're also not far from Pennsylvania Dutch Country, so watch out for the Amish and their horse and buggies!</p> <p>If you're a foodie, you don't have to settle for just chocolate. There are numerous factories in the area that offer public tours, including the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery in Lititz; Herr's potato chips in Nottingham; Utz Snacks and Snyder's pretzels in Hanover; and the Turkey Hill Experience in Columbia.</p> <h2>Knoebels Amusement Resort</h2> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Elysburg, PA</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free! (Ok, not exactly. Admission is free, but the rides are pay-per-ride and range between $1 and $3.)</p> <h3>What's Great</h3> <p>The largest pay-per-ride park in the nation, which makes it a great deal if you have young kids or seniors who can't ride. Knoebels <a href="">has been named among the friendliest parks</a> by Amusement Today magazine. It is not far from Hershey Park (see above) and the well-regarded Dorney Park in Allentown, PA.</p> <h2>Dollywood and Dollywood Splash Country</h2> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Pigeon Forge, TN</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $92 for adults for for a multi-park ticket, $75 for kids under 12. Tickets to Dollywood alone are $58 for adults and $46 for kids. For Splash Country by itself, tickets are $47 for adults and $42 for kids.</p> <h3>What's Great</h3> <p>Rated one of the <a href="">best overall parks by Amusement Today</a>, as well as one of the friendliest and cleanest. Country music legend Dolly Parton is the owner, and has her fingerprints all over the 150-acre park. There is plenty of entertainment, plus dozens of rides for adults and kids, including the new Fire Chaser Express, advertised as the first-ever family two-way launch coaster.</p> <h3>What's Nearby</h3> <p>Dollywood is nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, offering a beautiful experience for those looking for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Pigeon Forge is also home to a large attraction dedicated to the Titanic, and the Great Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster.</p> <h2>Cedar Point</h2> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Sandusky, OH</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $49.99 for adults, $34.99 for kids. Discounted tickets on weekdays and if you purchase in advance.</p> <h3>What's Great</h3> <p>Widely regarded as the Roller Coaster Capital of the World, this park features 16 coasters, including the legendary Millenium Force, plus several other record breakers. You may need two days to ride everything you want.</p> <h3>What's Nearby</h3> <p>Cedar Point itself is on the water, and offers parasailing, watercraft rides, boat rentals, and even fishing expeditions. The nearby Kalahari Resort offers one of the largest indoor water parks in the country. If you're up for a longer trip, Cleveland, Toledo, and Detroit are short drives away.</p> <h2>Busch Gardens/Water Country USA, Williamsburg</h2> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Williamsburg, VA</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Busch Gardens is $72 for adults, $62 for kids between 3 and 9. Water Country USA is $50 or $42 for kids. A two-park card offering unlimited visits for anyone over age 3 is $97.</p> <h3>What's Great</h3> <p>One of the most beautifully landscaped parks in the country, Busch Gardens is separated into separate &quot;countries&quot; with their own unique character. There are great roller coasters, including the legendary Loch Ness Monster, plus good rides for younger kids. Water Country USA has about a dozen water rides, including the new Colossal Curl. And the entertainment and food is better than what you find at most theme parks.</p> <h3>What's Nearby</h3> <p>History buffs will love visiting Colonial Williamsburg, along with the Yorktown battlefield and the Jamestown settlement.</p> <h2>Knott's Berry Farm</h2> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Buena Park, CA</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $40 if you buy in advance.</p> <h3>What's Great</h3> <p>You could spend hundreds of dollars at nearby Disneyland, or spend $40 here for a day and have a blast. Check out Montezooma's Revenge, a steel coaster in its 36th year of operation.</p> <h3>What's Nearby</h3> <p>Right in Buena Park, you can head to Medieval Times or the Titanic: The Experience show. You're also right near Anaheim, home of the Angels baseball team and a number of other attractions. And of course, Los Angeles is just a short stint away.</p> <h2>Six Flags Magic Mountain</h2> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Valencia, CA</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $44.99 with advance purchase.</p> <h3>What's Great</h3> <p>Just a couple hours north of Knott's Berry Farm, it may be worth it to check out the parks back-to-back. Six Flags Magic Mountain has a whopping 19 roller coasters, including the unique X2 ride, <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">featuring seats that rotate 360 degrees</a>.</p> <h3>What's Nearby</h3> <p>Valencia itself is a sleepy planned community. But Six Flags Magic Mountain is just a 30-mile drive north from Hollywood, and just an hour east of the Pacific Ocean.</p> <p><em>Whats your favorite non-Disney amusement park? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Affordable Amusement Parks That Are Just as Fun As Disney" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Tim Lemke</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment Travel amusement parks travel vacations Wed, 02 Jul 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Tim Lemke 1152743 at 6 Ways to Slash the Cost of Wi-Fi When You Travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-slash-the-cost-of-wi-fi-when-you-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="laptop airport" title="laptop airport" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you spend most of your time either at home or at the office, you probably take your Wi-Fi signal for granted. Then when you travel, suddenly connecting to a Wi-Fi network becomes a privilege. Sometimes you can enjoy it for free; at other times you have to pay high premiums for it. But with a little bit of planning, you can get free or cheap Wi-Fi almost anywhere. Here's how. (See also: <a href="">10 Ways to Keep Your Laptop Safe While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>Look for Free Hotel Wi-Fi</h2> <p>Many hotels have wisened up to the fact that Wi-Fi is a necessity for many travelers. Some hotels choose to use this information to charge a fee for Wi-Fi use and earn a short-term profit; others choose to provide the service for free and get long-term business.</p> <p>When you book a hotel, pay attention to the amenities included. Some hotels charge for Wi-Fi access by the hour or by the night, so it can get expensive quickly. Even if you have to pay a higher nightly rate for a hotel with free Wi-Fi, it may be worth the price.</p> <h2>Join a Hotel Loyalty Program</h2> <p>Some hotel loyalty programs provide free Wi-Fi for members. Depending on the hotel chain, you may have to accumulate a minimum number of points, stay a minimum number of nights, or acquire a certain elite status to enjoy this perk. Some programs only require you to join for free to get free Wi-Fi. For example, Omni Resorts &amp; Hotels and InterContinental Hotels Group both charge Wi-Fi fees, but let even basic members of their loyalty programs enjoy it for free.</p> <h2>Download Before You Leave Home</h2> <p>Travel involves a lot of idle time, like when you're waiting for a boarding call or sitting on a plane. If you only need Wi-Fi for entertainment, you can avoid Wi-Fi fees at airports and on planes by downloading videos and reading materials ahead of time. You may even be able to get some work done offline using only Microsoft Office programs.</p> <p>I personally like to use digital maps to find my way when I travel. Because I don't always have a data connection, Google Maps' offline features often come in handy. I simply load the part of the map I need when I have Wi-Fi connection, then have Google Maps save it on my smartphone.</p> <h2>Tether to Your Smartphone</h2> <p>If you travel to a domestic location where you're not charged any roaming fees, make full use of your smartphone data connection. Before you travel, check if your smartphone supports tethering, which allows other devices to connect to your phone's data network. It's a bit like having your own little Wi-Fi router.</p> <p>All you have to do is enable tethering on your phone, then use your other device to find and connect to the phone's Wi-Fi network. Don't forget to contact your phone provider before you travel to find out if there are any extra fees to use this feature.</p> <p>If you travel abroad, you may still be able to tether a device to your phone, but the roaming fees may make it so expensive that you'd be better off paying for the hotel Wi-Fi. Look into using a local SIM card in an unlocked phone to enjoy local tethering rates.</p> <h2>Get a USB Modem</h2> <p>If you travel a lot, you can consider getting a dedicated device to connect to the Internet. One option is a USB modem, which is a compact stick that plugs into your laptop or tablet. You usually have to install special software on your device to use a USB modem, but it's portable and easy to use after your first time connecting to the Internet with it.</p> <p>You also need a data plan to use a USB modem, but it could be cheaper than what hotels charge if you travel within the country. If you travel abroad, you may be able to save some money by getting a local data plan.</p> <h2>Get a Mobile Hotspot</h2> <p>A mobile hotspot works in a similar way as a USB modem. Known as &quot;Mi-Fi,&quot; this device is usually more robust than just a smartphone or a USB modem, with a longer-lasting battery and the ability to connect multiple devices at once. It's also not necessary to install special software to connect to the Internet with a Mi-Fi. You can probably get a Mi-Fi device for free or at a deep discount if you sign up for a data plan contract.</p> <h2>Find Free Public Wi-Fi</h2> <p>If none of the above options seem practical for you, there are often public Wi-Fi networks you can use.</p> <p>Coffee shops are your best bet, but more and more businesses are offering free Wi-Fi access. You may be able to get free Wi-Fi at fast food restaurants, grocery stores, bookstores, and even gas stations. Just look for a Wi-Fi sign at the entrance.</p> <p>Public spaces in big cities may also provide free Wi-Fi access. For example, Taipei has free public Wi-Fi at train stations, libraries, hospitals, malls, and even some commercial and residential areas. Research your travel destination beforehand to see if the local government provides this service and where.</p> <p><em>Where do you go for Wi-Fi access when you travel? Please share your connection in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Ways to Slash the Cost of Wi-Fi When You Travel" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Deia B</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Technology Travel free wi-fi Internet SIM card smartphone wi-fi Wed, 02 Jul 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Deia B 1151054 at 3 Ways to Get Hotel Deals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-ways-to-get-hotel-deals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="hotel couple" title="hotel couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sure, you can get low hotel rates by shopping around on several websites. But if you're the type of traveler who's willing to spend a bit more time for greater savings, there are other ways to get better deals. These three hotel booking methods take some time and effort, but you'll gain access to exclusive hotel rates. (See also: <a href="">How to Book an Amazing Cheap Travel Package</a>)</p> <h2>Flash Sales</h2> <p>As the name suggests, a flash sale has a time limit, so you'll have to make up your mind quickly. Depending on the deal, the flash sale may only last for a couple of hours, although some flash sale deals remain available for a few days.</p> <p>You can find flash sale hotel deals on several dedicated travel private sale websites.</p> <h3>Jetsetter</h3> <p><a href="">Jetsetter</a>, for example, offers discounts of up to 40% off regular prices of hotels and tours. You can find a wide variety of properties here, from lofts in big cities to secluded villas. You have to become a member to access these deals, but membership is free.</p> <h3>Vacationist</h3> <p>Another popular travel flash sale website is <a href="">Vacationist</a>, which partners with <a href="">Travel + Leisure</a> to give you a detailed review of each hotel. Vacationist claims to offer savings of up to 60% off hotel stays. Again, you have to get a free membership to book these deals.</p> <h3>Other Travel Flash Sites</h3> <p>Other travel flash sale websites to check out: <a href="">Voyage Privé</a>, <a href="">Trip Alertz</a>, and <a href="">Tablet Hotels</a>.</p> <p>Don't overlook general discount websites. Sometimes you can find hotel deals on websites like <a href="">Groupon</a> and <a href="">LivingSocial</a>.</p> <p>Before you book, pay attention to the fine print because there may be restrictions and surcharges that apply to flash sale reservations. For example, there may be black-out dates or extra fees for weekend stays. You may also have to pay higher penalties if you need to modify or cancel your hotel stay later.</p> <h2>Deals on &quot;Secret&quot; Hotels</h2> <p>A secret hotel deal is one where you're not told the name of the hotel until you've booked and made a payment. The hotels don't want to publicize these deals because these low rates could dilute their brands and make their other guests unhappy.</p> <p>Even though the booking website won't show you the hotel name, you're given its star rating, approximate location, and details about its amenities. From this information, you can often guess which hotel it is.</p> <h3>Secret Hotel Sites</h3> <p>Several websites offer secret hotel deals under different names. They are: <a href="">Hotwire Hot-Rates</a>, <a href="">Priceline Express Deals</a>, <a href="">Travelocity Top Secret Hotels</a> and <a href=""> Top Secret Hotels</a>.</p> <p>To book a hotel, you start by entering your destination and travel dates. The search results will show you a few hotel options, which may include both secret hotel deals and regular hotel listings. You can simply book one secret hotel room based on the limited information provided, or you can probably find out the hotel name if you have some time to spare.</p> <h3>How to Identify a Secret Hotel</h3> <p>Begin by reading the hotel listing very carefully, looking for any distinctive feature that differentiates it from other hotels &mdash; a hot tub on the balcony, for example, or a fireplace inside the suite. It's okay if there's no such feature, but it will help you pinpoint which hotel it is more easily if there is.</p> <p>Then, copy a snippet of the hotel description and paste it into a search engine. If you're lucky, the search result should show you which hotel it is. Otherwise, sift through other hotel listings on the booking website that have the same star rating and location until you come across one with the same features as the secret hotel.</p> <h2>Price Bidding</h2> <p>With price bidding, you can potentially get really big savings, but you need to know how to use the system.</p> <p>Before you read any further, you should know that hotel bidding is probably not for you if you have very specific preferences. There are limited options and you get minimal information about the room. You won't be told the name of the hotel, and you won't be able to choose your bedding configuration. You also won't be able to request a non-smoking room, a room with a certain view, or multiple connecting rooms.</p> <h3>Where and How to Bid on a Room</h3> <p>Hotel price bidding is available on <a href="">Priceline</a>, where it's called the &quot;Name Your Own Price&quot; feature.</p> <p>To start the bidding process, you specify the dates of your stay, the lowest hotel star rating you'd take, the area where you want to stay, and the price you're willing to pay. The website will find hotels that match your criteria. If there is a hotel that accepts your rate, you have a booking. Otherwise, you have to wait for 24 hours before submitting another bid.</p> <h3>Bidding Tricks</h3> <p>There are a few tricks you can use to make more than one bid per day. You can easily double the number of times you can bid by working with your partner or a friend. You can also bid the same price by adding more possible hotel areas if you're flexible about the neighborhood. If you have a strict budget, Priceline will let you bid the same price again if you drop your minimum star rating.</p> <p>There are more complex ways to improve your chances of getting hotel deals quickly on Priceline. If you need help with bidding strategies, visit <a href="">Biddingtraveler</a> or <a href="">Betterbidding</a>.</p> <p><em>Have you scored major deals on hotel rooms? How'd you do it? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="3 Ways to Get Hotel Deals" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Deia B</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Travel hotel deals hotels room deals Tue, 24 Jun 2014 21:00:05 +0000 Deia B 1148416 at 7 Weird Money Laws You May Have Broken <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-weird-money-laws-you-may-have-broken" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="fortune teller" title="fortune teller" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money can make people do strange things. But what about when money laws themselves are beyond comprehension?</p> <p>From bizarre tax systems at home to monarchy-imposed oddities abroad, the world is full of some very odd laws governing the spending and collecting of money. Lucky for you, this list of them is free.</p> <h2>1. Don't Step</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Thailand's king is featured prominently on all the country's currency. Thailand's king is also not to be criticized, under legal penalty. So by extension, Thailand has one of the stranger money laws around: stepping on money is considered extremely disrespectful, and crazily enough, <a href="">could land you in a Thai jail</a>.</p> <h2>2. Do the Running Man, Pay the Tax Man</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>In Washington state, cover charges for movies, concerts, and theater are tax free. Unless, that is, the venue provides patrons with an &quot;<a href="">opportunity to dance</a>&quot; (seriously), in which case tax must be paid. A holdover law from the 60s, the provision was largely forgotten about until recently, when one establishment was charged $25,000 for non-compliance.</p> <h2>3. Candy Pain</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Buy a Twizzler in Kentucky and you're free from paying taxes. Buy a chocolate-coated pretzel, and you better keep that receipt. That's because their state law declares tax exempt <a href="">only those candies that don't contain flour</a>. Seems a little half-baked.</p> <h2>4. Canadian Currency Conundrum</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Find it annoying when the person in front of you in line starts counting out pennies for their purchase? Well in Canada, you could have that person arrested. According to the <a href="">Canadian Currency Act</a>, there are all sorts of legal restrictions on what you can and can't pay for with coins, including the illegality of using more than 25 pennies in any transaction.</p> <h2>5. Nay-Saying Sooth-Saying</h2> <p><img width="605" height="341" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>For something weird you're not allowed to charge money for, how about <a href="">Pennsylvania&rsquo;s law against soliciting payment for fortune telling</a>? The misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail, and extends to outlaw charging to place hexes or spells on people.</p> <h2>6. The Bagel Burden</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>It's tough to walk down a New York City street without running into a bagel joint. But if you're looking to avoid being charged tax on one of those heavenly bread circles, make sure you do not, under any circumstances, ask for your bagel to be sliced. <a href="">As soon as the bagel is sliced</a> (or schmeared, for that matter!), it's considered prepared food, and can be taxed up to 9 cents.</p> <h2>7. Bavarian Bribes</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>While most of this list features legal restrictions, this last law gets honorable mention (it was eliminated just a few years ago) for <em>helping</em> facilitate a strange financial transaction. Namely: bribery. German tax law, it turns out, actually allowed private companies to <a href="">write off the costs of bribery on their returns</a>.</p> <p>Though good luck dealing with the angry bribe recipients after listing their names on your receipts&hellip;</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Weird Money Laws You May Have Broken" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Joe Epstein</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment Financial News Travel finance laws laws money money laws weird Fri, 20 Jun 2014 21:12:04 +0000 Joe Epstein 1142576 at $20 in Los Angeles: The 16 Best Ways to Spend It <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-in-los-angeles-the-16-best-ways-to-spend-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="los angeles" title="los angeles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="138" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>San Franciscans and New Yorkers love to complain about Angelenos. We're intellectually shallow. We lack culture. We're superficial.</p> <p>Hilariously, the hate only goes one way. Angelenos don't feel the need to measure Los Angeles against other cities, because we know the truth: Los Angeles is great.</p> <p>Unlike most world-class cities, Los Angeles is still affordable to mere mortals. It's possible to enjoy a bourgeois lifestyle in L.A. on a shoestring budget.</p> <p>To prove it, here are 16 quintessentially Los Angeles things to do for under $20.</p> <h2>1. Watch a Movie</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>While there are movie houses everywhere, the theaters in Los Angeles are temples to cinema. In addition to splendid architecture, L.A. film studios calibrate the sound and the picture for their features in local movie theaters, so there is nowhere on the planet that provides a more optimal film viewing experience.</p> <p>While the Mann Chinese and The Cinerama Dome are superstar tourist attractions, there is a reason why they are home to film premiere after film premiere: Their gigantic screens make even the smallest films feel epic.</p> <p>But access to the best first-run cinema on the biggest screens is only part of what makes Los Angeles the best place in the world to see movies. In terms of film history, film buffs in Los Angeles have the most viewing options. Los Angeles theaters regularly present films that were never transferred to digital format and source <a href="">foreign films</a> that <a href="">never got</a> North American distribution.</p> <p>Don't want to fight tourists who don't know it's only polite to clap during the movie credits? Check out some locals only cinematic experiences:</p> <p><a href="">Last Remaining Seats</a> is the Los Angeles Conservancy's film series that matches classic films with historic theaters in the Broadway Theater District in downtown Los Angeles. In its heyday Broadway had the highest concentration of movie palaces in the world, and today it is the only large collection of movie theaters left in the United States. Just getting the chance to tour these masterpieces of Art Deco, Beaux Arts, Churrigueresque, and Gothic architectural design is worth the $20 ticket price for the films.</p> <p><a href="">The Cinefamily</a> at the Silent Movie Theater is a nonprofit movie theater that operates like a museum. The mission of Cinefamily is to provide a movie-going experience that cannot be found anywhere else in Los Angeles. The Cinefamily is home to unique programming such as <a href="">Doug Benson's Movie Interruption</a> and the <a href="">Everything is Festival</a>. Tickets to most movies are $12.</p> <p>If you have ever looked at a mausoleum and thought, &quot;This would be a great place to screen a movie,&quot; well, luckily for you, the cinephiles behind <a href="">Cinespia</a> had the same great idea. Watch movies and picnic under the starless L.A. night sky at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Tickets range between $14 and $18 depending on the show.</p> <h2>2. I See (Famous) Dead People</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Speaking of cemeteries, Los Angeles is a great place to start your <a href="">celebrity gravestone</a> rubbing collection. In addition to being home to some of the most art directed cemeteries on the planet (Forest Lawn Glendale is so over-the-top that Evelyn Waugh satirized it in <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002IVV3PA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=KJILDD54X5JUQB3P">The Loved One</a>), L.A. certainly boasts the largest <a href="">collection</a> of grave <a href="">marker</a> <a href="">jokes</a>. Everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Bugsy Siegal to Ray Charles is six feet under in the City of Angels. Sadly for us horror fans, Vincent Price was cremated and his ashes scattered over Point Dume. However, to quote Bauhaus, &quot;Bela Lugosi's dead&quot; (and buried at Holy Cross Cemetery).</p> <h2>3. Shred</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Skating (or what your dad refers to as &quot;skateboarding&quot;) is the indigenous sport of Los Angeles, so it's only natural that the city's Department of Recreation and Parks, operates <a href="">21 skate parks</a> that are free, open to the public, and skated by everyone from the rank beginner to members of the legendary <a href="">Zephyr team</a>.</p> <h2>4. Buy Vinyl</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>A new favorite pastime of Angelenos is complaining about the high cost of records.</p> <p>That because the local market for vinyl has skyrocketed. <a href="">North East</a> Los Angeles <a href="">between</a> <a href="">Echo Park</a> and <a href="">Highland Park</a> has become a destination for vinyl collectors from Europe and Asia because it is home to no fewer than <a href="">10 Record stores</a>. Not CDs. Records. Unlike other cities, Los Angeles hasn't been shopped out, and still has great, <a href="">hard-to-find</a> music in circulation. Shop now, while you can still afford to.</p> <h2>5. Go on a Taco Rampage</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>While shopping for records in Highland Park, treat yourself to a taco. Highland Park is ground zero for Los Angeles's food truck scene. The taco trucks, and questionably legal driveway restaurants, just on York Blvd. represent the cuisine of 10 different states of Mexico. Tacos cost between $1 and $2 each. The <a href="">Taco Blog</a> used to be the place to go for reviews and locations of some of the city's most famous mobile eateries, but the blogger has retired (the info is still relevant, however). Find more taco leads at the LAist's annual roundup of <a href="">Los Angeles's best tacos</a>.</p> <h2>6. Workout With Richard Simmons</h2> <p>Sweat to the oldies with the Master. Classes with <a href="">Richard Simmons</a> only cost $12, so you have no excuse. Even if you are a couch potato, isn't the story you can tell your friends worth the expense?</p> <h2>7. Eat the Best Pastrami Sandwich in the Universe</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>David Sax's book, &quot;Save the Deli,&quot; was the shot heard round the kosher meat world when he stated that, &quot;Brace yourself New York, because what I am about to write is definitely go to piss a lot of you off, but it needs to be said: Los Angeles has become America's premier deli city.&quot; At the heart of the ensuing kerfuffle was Sax's proclamation that <a href="">Langer's Deli</a> is home to the finest pastrami sandwich in the universe, much less the country. According to Sax, &quot;Los Angeles is the example to the rest of the nation of how a deli can ultimately stay relevant.&quot;</p> <p>New Yorker foodies, were, of course outraged. Subsequently, everyone from Pulitzer Prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold to the James Beard Foundation have weighed in favor of Langer's. Native New Yorker Nora Ephron, who went on record in the pages of The New Yorker that <a href="">Langer's serves the best pastrami in America</a>, finally did a side-by-side taste-off between Langer's and Katz's, the iconic New York deli to quiet East Coast sore losers. Langer's handily <a href="">won the re-match</a>.</p> <p>Suck it New York.</p> <p>Langer's <a href="">pastrami sandwiches</a> cost $14 to $15.95 depending on the condiments.</p> <h2>8. Eat Through the History of the Hamburger</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Los Angeles did not create the hamburger, but Los Angeles is where America's flagship sandwich was perfected. <a href="'s_restaurant">McDonald's</a>, In-N-Out with its <a href="">Secret Menu</a>, and trendy upstart <a href="">Umami Burger</a>, all got their start with Los Angeles <a href="">burger fans</a>.</p> <p>If there is one thing that Angelenos will fight over, it's where to get the <a href="">best burger</a> in the city. Seriously, criticize <a href="">the Apple Pan</a> and I will cut you.</p> <h2>9. Eat the Original French Dip Sandwich at Philippe's</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>If Los Angeles can't claim the title &quot;Sandwich Overlord,&quot; I don't know what city can. Angelenos are expert sandwich eaters. Rounding out the meat-on-bread trifecta is the Original French Dip sandwich from Philippe's in Chinatown. Why is it called &quot;The Original?&quot; Because in 1918, while making a roast beef sandwich for a police officer, restaurant owner Philippe Mathieu <a href="">accidentally dropped the bun</a> into a roasting pan still full of hot beef drippings, inadvertently inventing the French Dip Sandwich. The cop returned the next day with friends and requested the &quot;dipped sandwich&quot; and thus, a Los Angeles food tradition was born.</p> <p>Have you tried the genius that is this sandwich?</p> <p>French Dip sandwiches cost $6.50. There were almost riots in the streets when Philippe's announced in 2012 that it would be raising the cost of its coffee from 10 cents a cup to an outrageous 50 cents.</p> <p>While everyone can agree that the longest surviving restaurant in Los Angeles is an institution, almost no one knows how to pronounce the name of the joint. Is it Phil-leeps or Phil-lee-payz?</p> <p>Win a bet with this little-known piece of L.A. trivia: The Philippe heirs pronounce it <a href="">Phil-lee-pee</a>.</p> <h2>10. Watch Your Favorite Television Show&hellip; Live</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Although you have to book your tickets in advance, being a part of the live, studio audience of your <a href="">favorite show</a> is usually free. Get free tickets for The Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Real Time With Bill Maher, or The Price Is Right via the <a href="">CBS Television City</a> website.</p> <p>Order Dr. Phil ticket's <a href="">online</a> or by telephone (323) 461-PHIL.</p> <p>Although there are a limited number of standby tickets available to <a href="">Ellen</a> &mdash; call 818.954-5929 before noon on the day of the show &mdash; all other ticket requests should be made online. Be aware that proof of age is required to be in Ellen's audience. (Audience members must be at least 14 years old).</p> <h2>11. Find Your Imaginary Rocket Scientist Boyfriend at JPL</h2> <p>Science is sexy. How cute are the <a href="">guys</a> behind the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Mission? They have such great <a href="">hair</a>.</p> <p>What? Oh, right. Ahem.</p> <p>NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories has free tours. Tours are booked up to five months in advance, so <a href="">make your reservation</a> now.</p> <h2>12. Look at Really Public Art</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Los Angeles is one of the mural capitals of the world. The city is covered with large-scale legal and illegal street art. <a href="">The Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles</a> is a non-profit, art preservation group dedicated to preserving L.A.'s street art heritage. Both the MCLA and <a href="">SPARC</a> (Social and Public Art Resource Center) have comprehensive list of murals in every neighborhood.</p> <h2>13. Nobody Walks In LA</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Well, that's the rumor anyway. You cannot talk about Los Angeles culture without talking about cars. The history of how the automobile shaped Los Angeles can be experienced at <a href="">The Streetscape: The Car and the City in Southern California</a>, a gloriously detailed permanent exhibition at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Active Military (with ID) get free admission, but general admission is $34 for adults (which busts the $20 budget, but read on&hellip;).</p> <p>One of Los Angeles's best-kept museum secrets and free activities is the <a href="">Nethercutt Collection</a> in Sylmar. The four story museum houses one of the world's top collections of vintage and antique automobiles, lovingly collected and restored by J.B. Nethercutt, the heir to the Merle Norman Cosmetics fortune, and his wife, Dorothy.</p> <p>If the car museum experience is too stuffy, the oldest <a href="">Bob's Big Boy Restaurant</a> in the country hosts a classic car show in its parking lot every Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The car show is free. At this Bob's Big Boy and only this Bob's can you order, by special request only (it's not on the menu), the Go Big or Go Home Combo for $11.99: Two 8 ounce all-beef patties on a sesame seed bun with lettuce, cheese, dressing and relish. Served with fries.</p> <h2>14. Go Hiking</h2> <p>Although Los Angeles is often portrayed as a concrete nightmarescape, one of the city's charms is its easy access to <a href="">wilderness</a>. Popular hikes include routes to the <a href="">Hollywood Sign</a>, the <a href="">Batcave</a>, or <a href="">Mt. Wilson Observatory</a>.</p> <h2>15. Look at Famous Imaginary Architecture</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>When I first started driving in Los Angeles I almost caused a major accident. I was so startled to see the Happy Days house (without the Fonz's motorcycle out front) that I slammed on the brakes.</p> <p>Before moving to Los Angeles, I had never thought about film and television houses existing, in the wild, and owned by actual people, not characters. Los Angeles is still the most filmed location in the world. Although many film locations are private residences (which means no trespassing, just looking), it's still fun to see the building in real life. It's sort of the architectural equivalent of star sighting a favorite celebrity.</p> <p>That said, <a href=";checkout=06%2F15%2F2014&amp;s=sw0D">horror fans can rent</a> the carriage house that appears, as a location, in the first season of American Horror Story (and is located between the Murder House and Constance's House). The adjacent side portico of the host's home was used as Constance Langdon's front door, and the front lawn of the carriage house was the location of the gazebo/grave.</p> <p>While there are plenty of expensive &quot;Star Maps&quot; bus tours that depart from Hollywood Blvd., there are many self-guided tours for various neighborhoods all over Los Angeles that are much cheaper and much more detailed. My current favorite free architectural tour is the Los Angeles Conservancy's self-guided walking tour of downtown Los Angeles based on the film <a href="">500 Days of Summer</a>.</p> <h2>16. Listen to Live Music at the Hollywood Bowl</h2> <p>&nbsp;<img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>The Hollywood Bowl is the largest natural amphitheater in the country and the summer vacation home to both the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Playboy Jazz Festival. In its <a href="">90-year history</a> the Hollywood Bowl has hosted everyone from the Beatles to Stevie Wonder to John Williams to Aerosmith. While stage-side seating costs a small fortune, the acoustics are no better up close in the box seats than they are in the back row, so even poor students can have a great concert experience, in this small, unique venue.</p> <p>The Hollywood Bowl is a thrifty, but romantic, date destination for foodies and for music lovers. Bring your own blanket to snuggle under and a picnic dinner to share, or rent a cushion and buy dinner from Hollywood Bowl vendors. The stacked parking is a nightmare, so prepare to walk or take one of the handy <a href="">$5.00 shuttles</a>.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite budget experience in Los Angeles? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="$20 in Los Angeles: The 16 Best Ways to Spend It" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Max Wong</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel $20 20 bucks cheap thrills Los Angeles things to do Thu, 19 Jun 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Max Wong 1145185 at