5 Quick and easy ways to save on travel in 2016

Taking a vacation doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. In fact, a little research and smart decisions can go a long way to making your dream vacation happen, for a fraction of the usual cost. Here are 5 quick and easy ways to help you save on travel in 2016:

Check out travel credit cards

A certain stigma attaches itself to the idea of having a credit card, and rightly so, for spending money you don’t have, or buying something you cannot afford, is always a bad idea. However, while they can have the same pitfalls, there is also a risk-free strategy with travel credit cards which can help you make huge savings on future travels.

Providing you do a little research and read the fine print on each one, a travel credit card with free air miles can be obtained with no upfront costs. In fact, there are travel cards which offer free air miles with absolutely no obligation for a minimum spend amount. Furthermore, this bonus will remain even if you decide to cancel the card at a later date and there is no limit to the number of travel credit cards you can obtain.

How to find the best travel credit card: A quick google search will bring up a dozen options for you to consider.

Get Hotel discounts and more

Since the introduction of rate parity laws, there is really no way to find genuine hotel discounts, other than joining a travel membership club.

In recent years, a mass number of booking engines and travel companies have saturated the online market, but what many people have not yet realized, is how the above mentioned law now restricts these businesses from providing the best hotel discounts, vacation packages or travel offers. Essentially, this means you will now find the same price for products or services across all channels of distribution and the end result; no real discount or value.

Thankfully, there is still a way to find the best hotel discounts or special offers, and it’s a very simple process which involves signing up for a travel membership club such as Hotels Etc and getting easy access to huge savings.

Hotels Etc is a reputable company with more than 20 years experience, and over 4 million members.

Invest in an unlocked cellphone, or don’t take one at all

With so much Wi-Fi access in travel destinations, there really is no need to be spending dollars on roaming charges; Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype all have a facility to make calls.

However, an even smarter move when it comes to traveling abroad is to take an unlocked cell phone and purchase a local SIM card on arrival. Most airports will sell a temporary SIM card at very low prices, and the rates for which you are charged while using it, is always a fraction of the costs incurred through data roaming.

Eat local, and eat cheap

Cost is not always a true reflection of the value, and this is most certainly the case when it comes to food. When you think about it; why not have food in the hotel room for an evening? or make some lunch using ingredients from the local supermarket?

Eating at a restaurant for every meal can be a sure fire way to use up the entire budget for a vacation, and choosing to prepare your own lunch every afternoon, can leave you a lot more disposable spending money for other activities. Another alternative is to choose local restaurants away from the main tourist hub; meals are often just as good, and half the price.

Get your timing right, and travel for half the price

Shoulder months are always the most affordable time to travel on vacation, the weather is generally still just as good in this period, and everything cost less. People with children may not have the luxury to plan a trip outside of school holidays, and then sometimes it is difficult to agree on the best time, if there is a group decision involved, but ultimately, it will lead to large savings.

In fact, recent travel deals have allowed Hotels Etc members to travel with up to 60 – 80% off a large variety of hotels and vacation packages. These were not last minute deals, but rather an example of the amazing hotel discounts which are provided through travel membership clubs.

Whatever happens, and whatever the weather, think smart, pay less and have just as much fun.

You can sign up for a free trial with Hotels Etc today and check out all the latest offers.

The best travel discounts: Paying less, and getting more

““Since the new rate parity laws was introduced, Travel membership clubs are the only genuine way to find the best travel discounts and most affordable hotels or vacation packages online.””

Most people associate a higher quality product or service with a higher price, and sometimes this is true, but not always. In fact, for more than two decades the travel membership club Hotels Etc have been providing the simple solution which allows their members to find the highest quality vacations at affordable prices, and the best hotel deals, along with discounts for many more non travel related products or services.

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Why join a travel membership club?

When you consider the question of why you should join a travel club, you may as well be asking as to why you should want to pay less for a product or service?

It really is that simple; the the click of a button, a travel club allows you to find the best hotel deals, the best vacation offers, and the widest range of online travel discounts. These offers are exclusive, you will not find them on the average booking engine, there is no added cost after the initial minimal membership fee, and you can fully trust a source such as Hotels Etc.

With more than 4 million members, the highest trust rating available, and more than 20 years of experience, Hotels Etc are the leading travel membership club with the widest range of online travel discounts.

What usually happens when a customer books online?

Unfortunately, it can be difficult assessing the best options in the online world with so much going on. Booking engines and “special offers” are as common as Facebook, and then there is no end of suppliers who promise the best price or best hotel offers.

In reality, these booking engines no longer offer the same value as before the inception of rate parity legislation, which is a new law that enforces companies to advertise the same price across different distribution channels. It may seem unimportant to the average consumer as there has been little news broadcasted about this new law, but then you must consider the reason why – nobody wants the consumer to know.

Hence, when a customer makes a booking online, they usually do so with the assistance of a booking engine while completely unaware that they are no longer getting the best price.

How can a customer make a booking and ensure the best travel discounts?

There is a link at the bottom of this article which allows for a free trial with Hotels Etc and in order to find the best price, the biggest hotel discounts and most affordable vacations, all you need to do is sign up, and see these amazing offers for yourself.

Hotels Etc negotiates anywhere between 60 -– 80% off for their members and offers a straight forward booking process to ensure you get the deal you want. There is no catch, and there should be no confusion: Since the new rate parity laws was introduced, a travel membership club is the only genuine way to find the best travel discounts and most affordable hotels or vacation packages online.

For the best online travel discounts, hotel deals and vacation packages, start paying less, and getting more by signing up now for a free trial with Hotels Etc.

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5 Best luxury hotel deals in the US

Rooftop infinity pools, high tech rooms, prime locations and superior customer service. There are many five star luxury hotels across the country who provide all of these services, but here are five of the best luxury hotel deals in the US, and the easiest way to find hotel discounts to make huge savings on your next reservation.

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The St Regis, New York
A personal 24 hour butler, an incredible variety of five star food, and a central location in the heart of New York City, the St Regis has plenty of competition in the “Big Apple” but it really is in a league of it’s own, even when it comes to the most luxurious alternatives.

Located on 5th avenue in Manhattan, the St Regis pulls out all of the stops by providing every possible service, with the greatest amount of detail, and this also goes for the room decoration. Spacious, sleek, stylish and elegant, you can expect nothing but an exceptional experiences on all levels, when you stay here on your next trip to the city that never sleeps.
Location: 2 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022, United States

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Santa Monica, California

The Garden Villas, and the hotel suites provide two alternate options when it comes to staying in the stylish Fairmont Miramar Hotel. Both are incredible places to stay, both elegant, and both as prestigious as the other.

Located in close proximity to the nearby shopping areas, the Fairmont is the perfect base for a weekend of splurging, but it is also central to the stunning beaches, and coastline scenery in Santa Monica. Another highlight is the Gourmet Dining and nearby nightlife which attracts the crowds, but the real draw of this opulent hotel, is the secluded experience it provides with peaceful gardens to explore on foot, and the option of the Garden villas for extra privacy.
Location: 101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

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Waldorf Astoria, Chicago

Another hotel which excels when it comes to focusing on the fine details, id the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago. The exterior is an eye catching sight with an old fashioned motor court which appears more like something you expect to see on mainland Europe, while the interior is a designers paradise with sparkling chandeliers in the lobby, and Coco Chanel drapes adorning the walls.

Interestingly, the staff at the Astoria do not have a designated role within the hotel, but rather each member is committed to assisting with every aspect of the hotel. It certainly helps not having to look far for somebody to help with an inquiry, but the theory is smart, and it helps customer service at the Waldorf Astoria stand out from competition.

The romantic fireplaces in each room are a nice touch which add a very personal feel to the hotel, and this atmosphere, combined with the ultimate level of service, has long ensured that clients return to the Waldorf Astoria year after year.
Location: 11 E Walton St, Chicago, IL 60611

Hotel Beaux Arts Miami

The Hotel Beaux Arts is a small hotel in comparison with the reputation it holds. Naturally any hotel in Miami can boast an alluring location with easy access to fine dining, and some of the best nightlife in the country, but the hotel itself does not rely on any of these factors to maintain this image.

Every room is equipped with the most modern high tech gadgets, from ipads to large flat screen televisions while the wooden floors, unrivaled views, and endless facilities make the Hotel Beaux Arts one of the most prestigious in the country.

A rooftop infinity pool, yoga studio and ultra modern fitness room are icing to the cake in this fine establishment, and the slightly less “flash” appearance of Hotel Beaux Arts, make it an ideal place to stay prior to a cruise, or for business professionals staying overnight in Miami.
Location: 255 Biscayne Blvd Way, Miami, FL 33131

The Hay Adams, Washington

The most prestigious location in the country, the Hay Adams Hotel is situated directly across from the White House and has a historical relevance which only adds to the chard of a stay in the Nations Capital.

Although all the modern facilities exist in the Hay Adams, the refined nature of the interior design st it apart from the competition. Local designer Thomas Pheasant has ensured the history of the building is maintained by designing it with a very residential feel. The lobby is akin to a natural museum, the cocktail bar is famous throughout the city, and the roof terrace is one of the most peaceful places you could possibly imagine.

When you consider the high profile location, the history, and charming nature of the interior; the Hay Adams Hotel in Washington is arguably one of the most alluring hotels in the United States.
Location: 800 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20006

All the best hotel discounts, and luxury hotel deals can be found exclusively on Hotels Etc, the number one travel membership club in the US, and easiest way to make huge savings on all your travel needs.

Finding cheap hotels, and the best hotel discounts

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With Spring break on the horizon, and most people searching for an easy escape to the warm weather of the South, finding cheap hotels, and the best hotel discounts is an idea worth prioritizing.

Anyone with a huge amount of disposable income may not be interested in learning about the new “Rate parity laws” which were introduced to the travel market, but for the average person on the street, knowing how this new law affects the online travel industry can save you a lot of money.

Rate parity and the increase of hotel rates online

It is not simply a case of the major booking engines increasing their rates, but rather that this new law has enforced a regulation which disallows a fluctuation of pricing across different distribution channels. Essentially the big brands, Expedia for example, are unable to offer lesser rates through their smaller, “sister companies” such as Orbitz or Booking.com.

Most often this will mean higher hotel rates when you check through the different options available because the booking engines/businesses are now required to offer a standard rate but more importantly, for you the consumer, it means the best hotel rates are to be found away from these particular websites.

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Reintroduction of Travel club memberships and finding cheap hotels

For some readers, it may sound strange to “introduce” a travel membership club as during the 1970’s these were a powerful source for vacation deals and the only genuine way of finding cheap hotels or the best hotel discounts.

However, it would seem that history is now repeating itself with the Travel club membership now being back at the very top of the list in terms of “the best hotel discount providers”. Travel clubs are exempt to the new rate parity law and this has allowed them to take one step ahead of the major travel brands by offering their customers the one thing, they cannot – genuine hotel discounts.

Membership clubs, such as Hotels Etc, have a long standing history in the travel industry for finding the best hotel discounts and negotiating the best vacation packages for their members. Hotels Etc also have an impeccable trust rating and with more than 4 million members, are arguably the largest travel membership club in the market at this moment. It really is simple, by signing up to such a club, you will have access to the biggest online travel discounts and an opportunity to pay less, and receive more.

Considering you are already reading this article, chances are you wish to find the best hotel discounts, the best vacation packages or travel membership club and in Hotels Etc you already have the best way to find all the most affordable offers in the online travel industry.

With Spring break just around the corner, and the new rate parity laws restricting the major travel brands from providing genuine value, there really is only one way to find the best hotel discounts online right now, and with Hotels Etc offering a free trial, there really is no reason not to sign up now.

7 ways to save money when you travel

Affordable vacation packages, cheap flights, amazing hotel discounts, free activities – everybody wants to find as much value as possible on vacation, and to help you do that, here are 7 ways to save money when you travel:

Consider an “open jaw” flight itinerary

“Open Jaw” is a term given to a flight schedule which arrives in a particular city, but then departs from an airport in another location. For anyone traveling to Cancun for a one week each vacation this will not be as relevant, but for anyone planning to see Europe, South America, Asia etc and hoping to do some overland travel, flying back from an alternative city is a great option.

Not only is the airfare less expensive, but an open jaw ticket also saves you the extra cost of returning to your trip starting point, never mind the inconvenience it causes to get back there.

Avoid traveling during peak season

Spring break, Christmas and school holidays are always more expensive and in order to ensure the lowest possible cost of a vacation, it is always a good idea to avoid travel at peak season.

Many of the best vacation packages to the Caribbean, or anywhere for that matter, will have more availability outside of this time meaning the rates for hotels, flights and anything tourism related, will be much more affordable. When you consider some of the best hotel discounts which can be found during these times, it is quite often the case that a vacation at this time will provide much more value, with less crowds, cheap hotel rooms and low airfare.

Best Hotel discounts

Save money when you travel by turning off your cellphone data

Have you ever arrived home from vacation to an insanely big phone bill? It happens. Availing of international roaming, checking your emails and even sending a few text messages can prove to be a large unnecessary cost on your vacation.

With every resort and hotel being fully equipped with free Wi-Fi, there is really no reason to be wasting money on expensive tariffs while on vacation. Skype, Facebook, and email are all capable of calling and sending instant messages from the local Wi-Fi which is entirely free.

Avoid renting a car when staying in the city

Renting a car can be a wonderful idea which can make travel outside of a destination convenient and highly enjoyable. However, if you are visiting a destination with plans of exploring the city, there really is no need for the added expense of having a car at your disposal, .

Even a train or bus ride around the city can make a family trip seem like more of an adventure, not to mention the fact that not having to worry about a car parked out on the street can reduce stress. Leave the car at home, discover the city on foot, and live adventurously on your next vacation.

Be careful with tipping

It’s good to tip, it’s only right, and everybody appreciates it. However, North Americans are the only people’s around the world who are generally known to tip more than 10 – 15 %.

Tipping extravagant amounts every time on vacation can be an enormous cost in itself. For example, if you have 3 meals a day and tip 25% each time, you are not far off paying for a fourth, non existent meal on every day of the vacation.

By all means tip, but within reason, you need to have some money left when the vacation is over.

Use Hotel discounts

In this modern age of technology, there s no excuse for not knowing about the huge hotel discounts being offered by travel membership clubs. Recent laws may have prevented Expedia, Orbitz and other travel brands from providing discounted cruises, packages or hotel rooms, but where they have lost their value, Travel clubs have taken their place.

Stop wasting time, and money by getting signed up for a travel membership with Hotels Etc and start saving up to 60-80% on hotels rooms, packages and much more.

Research free things to do at your destination

Not everything costs money once on location, in fact many of the best activities are free. A quick search online for travel blogs, reviews or trip reports will often result in a number of fun and completely free activities to help you save money on vacation.

A secret beach, a nearby mountain hike, a free walking tour or visit to some local landmarks. Even a trip around a lesser known part of town can result in cheap eateries, hidden attractions, and the free excitement that comes with not knowing where you are going.

All of the above are simple ways to ensure your vacation provides enough value, without leaving you in debt on the return back home and a great way to get started with saving money for future travels, is by signing up for Hotels Etc here.

The best vacation packages: Two reasons why timing is everything

Budget is always the main concern for most people when it comes to booking a vacation, but that most definitely does not mean you should ever decide against staying in the best hotels in Mexico, the best resorts in Varadero or dining in the top restaurants of Punta Cana. The truth is, timing is everything when it comes to finding the best vacation packages to the Caribbean or anywhere else, and if you also avail of hotel discounts, you can quite easily organize a dream vacation without even having to worry about it breaking the bank.

Aside from using hotel discounts, there are two simple factors which most people ignore, and they  could end up being the simple factors that help you save even more money on the next vacation.

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1. Don’t’ worry about when everyone else is taking their vacation

Unfortunately, most of us are easily influenced by what everyone else is doing and there is already enough advertising and marketing online nowadays to know that some of the most popular times to take a vacation, are Spring break, Christmas or at the height of the summer months.

However, is it really necessary to travel at the same time as everyone else? Most resorts or travel destinations are open for at least 6 months of the year and offer a full service regardless as to which month you decide to join them.

So if you really do want to save money and afford the best vacation packages, don’t worry about when everyone else is taking their vacation. If you consider the shoulder months when the weather is just as nice, there are less crowds and more availability, chances are, you will find that dream vacation for the fraction of the cost.

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2. Don’t wait for last minute packages

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there is generally no such thing as a last minute vacation package. It is not impossible, and on a rare occasion they do come about, but 99% of the time you will end up with no vacation at all if you take the route of waiting until the last moment. The best time to book the best vacation packages is right now, and the facts are that hotels, flights and almost any service is priced according to availability which means if you book early, you will not only get to choose the best option, but you will also receive it at the best price.

Although airlines or charter flights will not always be announced as far in advance as say, flights to Europe, you can at least book your discounted vacation approximately 6 – 8 months before departure and take comfort in knowing that it’s likely you got the best hotel deal.

Ultimately, by avoiding these two pitfalls you are ensuring the best possible time for booking that dream vacation, and then providing you avail of the best hotel discounts with a Travel club such as Hotels Etc, you should have no issues affording the best vacation package, without it breaking the bank.

5 Slightly more affordable hotels in New York

Everyone knows how New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world for accommodation but with a little bit of research and some hotel discounts from Hotels Etc, it is possible to find more affordable hotels in New York and turn the idea of visiting the Big Apple from being a once in a lifetime trip, into a bi-annual occasion. Hotels Etc are a travel club who have been negotiating incredible deals for their customers on anything from golf course membership and movie theater tickets, to cruise vacations and Hotel deals for New York.

While it will never be as low cost as a weekend vacation in Phoenix, the following hotels are some of the best located hotels in New York which are more affordable when using the hotel discounts mentioned above.

5 More affordable hotels in New york

Washington Jefferson Hotel

The Washington is hotel with an excellent location near Times Square which ensures that from the moment you arrive, the streets are right outside waiting to be explored. That being said, the hotel is located on a quieter side of the street and is a favorite for budget minded people who want to be slightly away from the hustle of the Square but then still close to Central Park, the Empire State Building and all the main shopping areas.

The interior is simple but quaint, and there is an excellent Japanese restaurant on location which offers fine sushi and teriyaki.

The rooms in the Washington Jefferson Hotel are small but they have a very respectable reputation for being clean and pleasant at the same time, with comfortable beds, cable television and free Wi-Fi.

Rooms in the Washington Jefferson Hotel start from $180.

 

The Jane Hotel

The Jane, 113 Jane Street, West Village

The Jane Hotel is quite unique in a sense that the rooms are designed, decorated and set out in a similar way to the cabins on an antique sailing ship. There are economy bunk bed cabins, along with the more luxurious “Captain’s” cabin with each room having the standard cable television, air conditioning and free Wi-Fi.

A rich history provides the backdrop for all the character this hotel has to offer and this, combined with the resident restaurant and café, make it a charming place to stay but once more, the location shines through as the major highlight for most guests.

Close to the Hudson River and in the center of the West Village in the Meatpacking district, The Jane Hotel is surrounded by shopping, restaurants and many nightlife options.

Rooms at The Jane Hotel start from $140 with private bathroom.

 

Yotel

570 10th Ave, New York

Not only is this a centrally located hotel in New York without the enormous price tag of many other hotels in the area, Yotel is specifically targeted toward a youthful clientele with inclinations toward places or attractions which are hipster orientated. There are also communal areas in the hotel for guests to hang out which make this a great place to meet people, for those who prefer to stay somewhere a little more luxurious than a youth hostel.

It is of Japanese design and the rooms appear to have more in common with an aircraft, than it does a hotel, but it works beautifully and all rooms have bright interiors with comfortable beds, flat screen televisions and free Wi-Fi.

Yotel has one of the most sought after locations in New York situated just a short walk from the Port Authority and less than a mile from Times Square.

Rooms at Yotel start from $180.

 

The Leo House

332 West 23rd Street New York, NY 10011

Few hotels can claim as central a location in Manhattan, with the price being offered by that of the Leo House. The Leo House will not be for everyone but for anyone hoping to save some serious cash on their next trip to New York, this hotel which is run by the extremely friendly Catholic Sisters of St Agnes and offers simple rooms for the budget traveler who wishes to be stay in a centrally located New York hotel.

The hotel has a basic restaurant, some peaceful gardens and all rooms include cable television and excellent Wi-Fi. As mentioned above, this budget hotel in New York is a great option for anyone who does not mind staying in a more modest setting, and with Broadway just a few minute walk from the front door, it’s unlikely you will be spending very much time in the hotel anyway.

Rooms in the Leo House start from $115 (without private bathroom)

Nu Hotel

85 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY

Nu hotel was the very first boutique hotel in the heart of Brooklyn, a place where many visitors choose to stay over the more touristy and packed central area around Times Square.

Staying in Brooklyn can be a much more rewarding experience for the traveler, given it is an authentic borough and living quarters for many of the average people whom work in the big city. The presence of arts and melting pot of culture also ensure a stay here provides a genuine New York experience.

Thankfully, the center of Manhattan is only a short ride away and so the variety  in terms of being able to “stay local” but then also be within easy reach of the city, can be very appealing for many tourists.

Nu Hotel has a beautifully decorated interior with spacious rooms, comfortable beds and all the other amenities you would expect in a large hotel, but rather than proximity to Manhattan being the benefit of staying here, it is the vibe and offerings of the local neighborhood which make it a great options for affordable hotels in New York.

Rooms at Nu Hotel start from $152 Queen.

As outlined above, traveling to New York does not have to be the overly expensive trip which most people decide to take, and with some research, planning and hotel discounts, there are many incredible hotel deals in new York to take advantage of when booking the adventure.

The best way to find these hotel discounts is by signing up for a travel membership with Hotels Etc, and start making huge savings today.

 

Free attractions and affordable things to do in New York

They call it the ““City that never sleeps”” and it truly does live up to this reputation with an endless number of activities, attractions and affordable things to do in New York. A trip to the Big apple is possibly a once in a lifetime trip for some people, but most certainly it’s a trip that everyone should take at some point in their lives, and despite what you might have heard, it is actually possible to visit New York on a budget, provided you avail of hotel discounts and spend some time planning an itinerary.

Truthfully, the best way to keep costs down on a trip to New York is to check out the free attractions in the city and the more affordable things to do, from a visit to the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero, to the dazzling lights of Times Square, the iconic Statue of Liberty and an afternoon in sunny Central Park – there are so many ways to spend your time without spending a great deal, and the following is a list to help you plan an affordable trip to New York.

Central Park & Times Square

When most people arrive in New York, they wish to be staying in a centrally located accommodation which is within easy walking distance of the main parts of the city. This is usually more expensive but if you use some of the best hotel discounts on Hotels Etc, you could easily find yourself in the middle of downtown for  a very minimal cost.

Central Park is a beautiful place to spend the day, especially in the Summer, and it can feel like a million miles from the city with all the green open spaces, cycle paths and lush surroundings. Visiting Central Park is obviously a free activity and likewise just a short walk from here, standing beneath the blinding lights of Times Square is a fascinating place to be and an unforgettable sight.

Tip: A visit to the zoo in Central park is relatively cheap at $16.20 for adults, and $11.70 for children.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is so big that you spend weeks inside the building and still not make your way around the entire 2 million pieces of art that are on display. It is also here, where you can witness the spectacular Temple of Dendur which is an ancient temple which was once on the banks of the River Nile in Egypt, before being transported to the US as a gift from the Egyptian government.

The best way to see the museum is by taking a guided tour with a curator, as often there are many parts and secrets of the museum which would otherwise go unnoticed.

Tickets for the Metropolitan Museum of Art are $25 for adults and $12 for students, while children under the age of 12 go free.

Concerts in Prospect Park

Every weekend there are big concerts at Prospect Park over the bridge in Brooklyn and amazingly, these are entirely free of charge. Despite there being no charge, it is not unusual for even the most popular acts to show up in the park with the Barenaked Ladies being a regular on stage.

These concerts are ideal for families and as with Central Park, there is so much space in Prospect that it makes for the perfect escape from the busy city without having to travel too far.

Grand Central Station

Just short of one million people hurry through the hallways of Grand Central Terminal in New York every day, and despite it sounding like a strange thing to do, visiting the station is a fascinating activity. There are free walking tours which take in a trip to the station but if you visit during the mid afternoon, it should be quiet enough to take a self guided tour and not get lost along the way.

The interior is beautiful with enormous stain glass windows reaching for the tall ceilings and mosaic tunnels leading their way between the different terminals which offer surprising delights on every turn.

There are some cheap eateries spread out around the station, and if you don’t want to miss out on any of the history, there is a self guided tour app you can download for just $5.

Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty

Many people travel to Ellis island to see the iconic statue without being aware of the great significant importance of the island itself. It is here, where you will find the enormous halls which were responsible for separating, detaining and processing the millions of immigrants who had traveled to the US many years ago in search of a new life. This brings a truly fascinating element to the journey and you are free to walk around the inside of the buildings.

However, that is not to take away from the awesome sight of the great Statue of Liberty which dominates the New York skyline and makes for the most awe inspiring sight to marvel upon, and capture through photography. Although you can take a trip to the top of the statue, it is just as nice to stay below and maybe have a picnic, while all the madness and chaos of Manhattan begins to disappear.

The cost of the Staten island ferry is $18 for adults and $9 for children.

The American Museum of Natural History

If the Metropolitan Museum of Art was big, then the Natural History Museum is completely off the charts. There are more than 30 million varieties of fossils, animals, plants, rocks and artifacts in the building which is spread out over 45 different exhibition halls.

When you think “there is something for everyone”, there has never been a place more true to those words. It is one of the most popular attractions in New York and widely known for having an incredible array of dinosaur replications. The hall of African animals is also a favorite while the Rose Center houses a very educational attraction in the Earth and Space exhibition.

Once more, this is another of the affordable attractions in New York which provides outstanding value given you will easily spend the entire day, engrossed on the inside of these walls.

Tickets for the American Museum of Natural History are $22 for adults and $12.50 for children.

There is no end in terms of things to do in New York and affordable attractions are everywhere so long as you spend time searching them out. The cost of your accommodation in New York is always going to be the biggest part of a budget for such a trip but as mentioned at the beginning of the article, Hotels Etc have the best hotel discounts which can provide anywhere between 50 – 80% off the regular price. Regardless of which free attractions you choose or the affordable things to in New York, on thing is for sure, the city provides great value for money.

5 Best cruise destinations in the Caribbean

Cruise vacations to the Craibbean have taken on a whole new meaning in recent years with a large number of new suppliers entering the market with some of the best cruise vacation packages, and some equally amazing cruise ships. However, even with so many cheap cruise packages in the market, it can still be difficult choosing which one is most suitable for your trip.

With this in mind, sometimes it can be easier to choose a vacation package based on the best cruise destinations in the Caribbean and here our recommendations:

Cozumel, Mexico

This popular cruise destination off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula is the perfect blend of culture, crafts and ancient civilization.

The centre of town may be highly populated with other tourists, but Cozumel still provides some of the best souvenirs and shopping options in all of Mexico. There are many small crafts such as china sets or quaint handmade board games but arguably the most popular items in town, are the wide selection of rare diamonds on offer.

Once you have finished acquainting yourself with the main town, there is a plethora of historical attractions scattered around the island which are waiting to be explored. Cozumel is infamous for the Mayans of course, and it is here, where you can travel deep into the rainforest to visit the San Gervasio ruins or Tulum, the most popular and spectacular of all the Mayan remnants on the island.

Old San Juan
San Juan offers an excellent variety of food, attractions and as with Cozumel above, great shopping.

The city in general has a spectacular and cosmopolitan appearance with a huge number of modern café’s, restaurants and a very lively nightlife but the old town is entirely the opposite and a great showcase of the 16th century origins of San Juan. Walking is the best way to see the old town and the many historic buildings create the illusion of  stepping back in time to an old city somewhere in Europe.
In terms of excursions, there are several day trip in San Juan but the most fascinating of these is El Morro, a Spanish fortress on the very edge of the peninsula. The fortress is a photographer’s dream and the perfect place to visit for an afternoon stroll amidst ancient civilization and pleasant surroundings.

Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau is one of the most alluring ports in which to arrive on a cruise, with the appearance of a very quaint town on a particularly small island.

There are many historic buildings to explore in the town such as Christ Church Cathedral or Parliament Square, but the highlight of the town itself most visitors, is usually the myriad of alleyways and backstreets which hide beyond the face of the waterfront.

Again, Nassau is a popular cruise stop but it is easy to see why as all the main attractions on the island are a short distance away, which is vitally important when limited for time. You can easily find affordable transport to any location and with interesting attractions such as Fort Fincastle or Queen’s Staircase.

Grenada
Grenada is one of the less visited parts of the Caribbean for cruise itineraries but for anyone who prefers to see culture or more traditional experiences but still enjoy the beach at the same time, this is most certainly the place to do it.
Waterfalls, lush mountains and stunning landscapes await in Grand Etang National Park those adventurous enough to take a hike and with Grenada being a Spice island, it also offers a nice opportunity to mingle with the locals in the town markets, where they sell ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, along with many different fresh produce such as coconuts or other fruits.
However, a trip to Grenada is still about the sun, sea and relaxation and the white sands of Grand Anse Beach are amongst the finest in the Caribbean. Taking into account that the island is less crowded than most destinations, Grenada is a very peaceful destination which offers a little bit of everything, just off the beaten track.

Falmouth, Jamaica

Falmouth is the youngest of all the ports on this list with it being built only a few years ago for the sole purpose of restoring a forgotten part of Jamaica. As a result, Falmouth is an extremely unique city full of Georgian architecture with a rich history to explore.

You can take a shore excursion to Ochos Rious or Montego Bay upon arrival to visit the beach, go snorkeling or even to swim with dolphins, but the most popular activity in Falmouth is actually to visit the nearby sugar plantations, for which the area is renowned.

Provided you stay in the same area for the day, Falmouth also makes for a very quaint and charming town to walk around. There are many boutique stores, markets and craft offerings while the famous Jerky Chicken is a must try, along with the incredibly fresh fruit which are grown local to the port.

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