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    tripatricks shoutout — backpack

    56 European cities by price: Europe Backpacker Index for 2017

    56 European cities by price: Europe Backpacker Index for 2017

    By Roger Wade

    Europe continues to be home to many of the world's most expensive cities, as well as some bargain cities where many things cost only about a quarter as much for an international traveler. Now in its 7th annual edition for 2017, the Europe Backpacker Index ranks 56 of the continent's most popular cities from cheapest to most expensive.

    Thanks to a stagnant economy and virtually no inflation (except for a few countries), prices for visitors in Europe held very steadily throughout 2016. Iceland keeps getting more expensive, partly due to its soaring popularity. And Britain is now a relative bargain after the post-Brexit currency weakness. That probably won't last too long, so don't put off your next London visit.

    For tourists holding US Dollars, Europe continues to be unusually cheap. Those who track exchange rates over the years will know that they tend to swing back and forth. In other words, in a few years, it's very likely that Europe will feel much more expensive for Americans than it does in 2017.

    How the Backpacker Index works

    Prices for most things (hostels, transportation, attractions) are fixed and certain, but prices for a “budget lunch” or a pint of beer can vary depending on where you go. Still, our estimates are based on a lot of research and should be very close if not right on.

    Costs for each city

    • One night in the cheapest bunk at the least expensive hostel with a good location and good reviews
    • Two public transportation rides per day
    • One paid/famous attraction per day (Every city is loaded with free things to do for budget-conscious travelers, but here we take the average cost of a major attraction in each city for each day.)
    • Three “budget” meals per day (We took our minimum meal price and added 20% to make it more realistic for a longer trip).
    • Three cheap, local beers (or wine) each day as an “entertainment fund.” Non-drinkers might have dessert and coffee or attend a local music performance instead, so this is a general benchmark that should be proportional to each city.

    Europe Backpacker Index for 2017

    From cheapest to most expensive

    1Sofia, Bulgaria (cheapest)

    Sofia remains a fantastic bargain among European capitals, with a very pleasant city center that is quite welcoming of foreign tourists. Prices of nearly everything are very cheap, except for inbound flights from other major cities. For this reason, Sofia is out of the way for anyone who isn't doing an extensive tour of the region. Don't expect any major checklist attractions, but you can expect a surprisingly lovely urban experience at shockingly reasonable prices.

    • Currency: Bulgaria Leva
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Mostel – 11.45 (includes breakfast)
    • Transportation: 2.00
    • Meals: 16.80
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
    • Attractions: 6.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: BGN43.75 = US$24.04/day

    Sofia prices and weather


    2Krakow, Poland

    Krakow continues yet again as Europe's best travel bargain. The low prices have drawn in larger numbers of Europeans for weekend breaks, and there are many great and cheap hostels, bars, and restaurants to keep prices low while you are enjoying the beautiful old city and the local culture. Put this one on your list before demand forces prices up like in Prague and Budapest.

    • Currency: Polish Zlotych
    • Best cheap hostel: One World Hostel – 34.15/night
    • Transportation: 5.60
    • Meals: 24.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 24.00
    • Attractions: 16.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: PLN103.75 = US$24.82/day
    Krakow prices and weather

    3Bucharest, Romania

    Definitely not Romania's most charming town, Bucharest's Old Town gets decent reviews but the rest of the city struggles to appeal to tourists. Fortunately, those that make the effort to come will at least be rewarded with low prices all around, which certainly help make up for the other frustrations of visiting. And that huge parliament building is worth a look. Hostels seem to be getting cheaper lately, so it's even more appealing for the backpacker set.

    • Currency: Romanian leu
    • Best cheap hostel: X Hostel Bucharest = 31.12/night
    • Transportation: 5.00
    • Meals: 45.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 15.00
    • Attractions: 12.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: RON108.72 – US$25.70/day

    Bucharest prices and weather


    4Belgrade, Serbia

    Belgrade is one of the Balkan cities that had years of trouble in the 1990s and still struggles a bit to attract tourism. This is another where you won't find an abundance of checklist attractions, but you will find a lively and interesting urban center with good nightlife and appealing prices.

    • Currency: Serbian Dinar (prices below are in euros)
    • Best cheap hostel: Downtown Hostel Belgrade – 6.00/night
    • Transportation: 1.50
    • Meals: 9.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 4.50
    • Attractions: 3.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €24.60 = US$26.17/day

    Belgrade prices and weather


    5Budapest, Hungary

    Another excellent travel bargain, Budapest is all-around cheap as long as you steer clear of the most touristy places along the river. The castles and cathedrals are enough, but here you also get thermal spas that are cheap even for the backpacking set. Hostels, in particular, are a great value, but you have to get a bit out of the center to find inexpensive hotels.

    • Currency: Hungary Forint
    • Best cheap hostel: Treestyle Hostel – 1547/night
    • Transportation: 700
    • Meals: 3120
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 1050
    • Attractions: 1500
    • Daily Backpacker Index: HUF7,917 = US$26.75/day

    Budapest prices and weather


    6Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Another Balkan-area city whose name conjures up images of its past troubles, Sarajevo is a destination that is struggling to attract tourists. The location deep into the mountains is remote, but it's also gorgeous once you arrive. The Muslim Old Town next to the modern center is very interesting and incredibly welcoming. This one is a hidden gem, partly because it's so hard to reach. If you can figure out a way to get here, do it and see what the fuss is about.

    • Currency: Converted Mark (fixed, so prices below are in euros)
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Ljubicica – 5.84/night
    • Transportation: 3.60
    • Meals: 9.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 3.75
    • Attractions: 4.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €26.79 = US$28.50/day

    Sarajevo prices and weather


    7Kiev, Ukraine

    KievNewKiev has always been fairly cheap (and very remote) compared to the rest of Europe, but the conflict and uncertainty that Ukraine has gone through starting in 2014 caused its currency to plunge and inflation to skyrocket. It's hard to say what prices may be at any given moment in 2017, but at least it should continue to be cheap for outsiders. Hopefully, the situation on the ground will feel more secure soon as well.

    • Currency: Ukraine Hryvnia
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Elements – 191/night
    • Transportation: 8.00
    • Meals: 354.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 180.00
    • Attractions: 15.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: UHR748.00 = US$29.18/day

    Kiev prices and weather


    8Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

    CeskyKrumlovThe second most popular tourist town in the Czech Republic is another jewel not to be missed if you are nearby. Framed by a gorgeous serpentine river, the historic Old Town feels perfectly preserved yet not overly touristy. Best of all, Český Krumlov seems shockingly cheap when you are there, with hotels, food, and drinks at very low prices even in the heart of town. This place is a huge hit for Asian tourists, for some reason, though it's highly recommended for everybody.

    • Currency: Czech krona
    • Best cheap hostel: Travel Hostel – 247/night
    • Transportation: 48
    • Meals: 288
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 90
    • Attractions: 100
    • Daily Backpacker Index: CZK773 = US$30.34/day

    Český Krumlov prices and weather


    9Warsaw, Poland

    While Krakow gets most of the raves in Poland, the capital city also has plenty to brag about in addition to very reasonable prices. The Old Town center was famously rebuilt after WWII to resemble its former self, and it's as charming as it is impressive. Warsaw is a bit out of the way for most travelers, but it's very worthwhile for those touring the area.

    • Currency: Polish Zlotych
    • Best cheap hostel: Chillout Hostel – 38.06/night
    • Transportation: 6.80
    • Meals: 39.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 24.00
    • Attractions: 23.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: PLN131.46 = US$31.45/day

    Warsaw prices and weather


    10Zagreb, Croatia

    The beach resort towns of Croatia are the main attraction, so Zagreb, which is well inland, tends to be only a shortstop for most. Still fairly cheap by European standards, and especially compared to Italy next door, Zagreb is a bargain and a worthwhile pause on the way to one of the beach towns or nearby Plitvice National Park.

    • Currency: Croatian Kuna
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Temza – 60.80/night
    • Transportation: 20
    • Meals: 84
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 36
    • Attractions: 30
    • Daily Backpacker Index: HRK230.80 = US$32.69/day

    Zagreb prices and weather


    11Riga, Latvia

    It's surprising to see a city so far north also so high on the cheap-cities list, but it turns out that Riga is quite a bargain for the backpacking set. Hostel beds, in particular, are very affordable, and so is pretty much everything else. Riga's main problem is that it's a bit out of the way for those not on an extensive tour. Even for a weekend break, Riga is worth a look, especially for the nightlife crowd.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Central Hostel Riga – 8.00/night
    • Transportation: 2.30
    • Meals: 12.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
    • Attractions: 3.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €31.30 = US$33.30/day

    Riga prices and weather


    12Bratislava, Slovakia

    You'd think that practically being walking distance from Vienna would make Bratislava a very popular stop for those on a Europe tour, but so far it's still mostly forgotten. It's cheaper than Prague and much cheaper than Vienna, so perhaps it will start catching on more in the coming years. A lack of famous attractions doesn't help, though the pleasant and historic town center is worth a day or two.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: A Wild Elephant’s Hostel – 8.00/night
    • Transportation: 1.40
    • Meals: 12.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
    • Attractions: 4.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €31.40 = US$33.40/day

    Bratislava prices and weather


    13Vilnius, Lithuania

    VilniusUnlike nearby Riga and Tallinn, the city of Vilnius does not have a cruise port and it's well inland. For this reason, it feels far less touristy than the other two, and the Old Town is gorgeous. This is another Baltic capital that is surprisingly cheap in many ways, so it's a worthwhile stop between Latvia and Poland. The (hard to find) Frank Zappa statue is one of the more famous quirky attractions here.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Downtown Forest Hostel & Camping – 8.00/night
    • Transportation: 2.00
    • Meals: 13.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
    • Attractions: 3.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €32.20 = US$34.26/day

    Vilnius prices and weather


    14Istanbul, Turkey

    The classic east-meets-west city had been creeping up in price, but the decline of the Turkish Lira lately has made it a bargain again. There's no shortage of markets, mosques, and attractions for even a longer stay, and everywhere else in Turkey is cheaper. Accommodation is more expensive than you might expect. Check our list of recommended cheap Istanbul hotels for bargains in all price ranges.

    • Currency: Turkish lira
    • Best cheap hostel: İstiklal Hostel – 25.25/night
    • Transportation: 8.00
    • Meals: 31.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 24.00
    • Attractions: 30.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: TRY118.45 = US$34.43/day

    Istanbul prices and weather


    15Prague, Czech Republic

    In the 1990s Prague was always used as an example of a city that is incredibly cheap yet still beautiful and historic, but that sort of chit-chat triggered the masses to flood in. Still, in spite of high-ish hotel prices, Prague is still quite cheap for those willing to stay in hostels and scout for bargain food and drinks. Plus, it's still gorgeous, if crowded. Choose from our recommended hotels in Prague list for excellent values at top-rated hotels.

    • Currency: Czech krona
    • Best cheap hostel: Czech Inn – 248/night
    • Transportation: 48
    • Meals: 372
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 105
    • Attractions: 250
    • Daily Backpacker Index: CZK1,023 = US$40.15/day

    Prague prices and weather


    16Split, Croatia

    SplitSplit is partly known for being the transportation hub along the Croatian coast, and the gateway to many nearby islands. But the Old City here is even older than Dubrovnik's and in many ways, it's just as impressive. Prices here are far cheaper than those in Dubrovnik, so it's a much better stop for most people, as it also feels far less touristy than the walled city to its south. If you visit Split first you will wonder why there is such a fuss over Dubrovnik.

    • Currency: Croatian Kuna
    • Best cheap hostel: CroParadise Green Hostel – 93/night
    • Transportation: 18
    • Meals: 100.80
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 42
    • Attractions: 40
    • Daily Backpacker Index: 293.80 = US$41.61/day

    Split prices and weather


    17Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Not unlike Kiev, the Russian currency plunged starting in 2014 and into 2015, and inflation ate up most of those savings. Far more tourist-friendly than Moscow, Saint Petersburg is also cheaper and arguably more interesting. Most things are very affordable, and the city would seem even cheaper if its incredible Hermitage Museum/Winter Palace didn't (justifiably) cost so much. Hotels and tourist restaurants aren't so cheap, however. Prices here could drift up or down as 2017 goes on.

    • Currency: Russian Ruble
    • Best cheap hostel: Plosaty Hostel – 347/night
    • Transportation: 70
    • Meals: 1,236
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 600
    • Attractions: 400
    • Daily Backpacker Index: RUB2,653 = US$41.93/day

    Saint Petersburg prices and weather


    18Santorini, Greece

    SantoriniArguably Greece's most popular holiday island, Santorini is here mainly as a placeholder for all of them. There are a few sights and cultural attractions but most people (Europeans) come to just relax in the sun during the day and drink into the night. If you stay in hostels or basic hotels and eat in places without sea views, these Greek islands all tend to be quite affordable.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Youth Hostel Anna – 8/night
    • Transportation: 3.20
    • Meals: 15.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
    • Attractions: 3.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €40.30 = US$42.87/day

    Santorini prices and weather


    19Ljubljana, Slovenia

    LjubljanaSlovenia is mostly known for its natural sights such as Lake Bled or the Karst plateaus, but its capital is definitely worth a look as well. Ljubljana is a charming and laid-back city with a peaceful Old Town and very appealing prices for visitors. This is the kind of place you'll think about moving to when you see it, so it's a very nice place to chill out for a few days on longer trips around Europe.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Aladin Hostel – 12/night
    • Transportation: 2.40
    • Meals: 16.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 6
    • Attractions: 5
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €41.60 = US$44.26/day

    Ljubljana prices and weather


    20Tallinn, Estonia

    Tallinn is cheap by most European standards, but it's the most expensive city in the Baltic area because it's a popular getaway for the Finns just a 2-hour ferry ride away. Frequent ferries from Helsinki are loaded with the party crowd and those looking to stock up on bulk alcohol for the return trip. Still, it's a fun place with a lovely Old Town.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Old Town Alur Hostel – 11.00/night
    • Transportation: 2.00
    • Meals: 14.40/li>
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 6.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €42.40 = US$45.11/day

    Tallinn prices and weather


    21Tenerife, Spain

    The Canary Islands (off the northwest coast of Africa) are a popular warm-weather retreat for many Europeans all year, and Tenerife is the largest and most popular island with English speakers. Prices tend to be similar to or a bit lower than mainland Spain, which makes it a relative bargain for most Europeans who are just a cheap flight away. Not many cultural attractions to be found, so it's mainly a place to relax. The beaches in the southwest of the island are the most popular with English speakers.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Los Amigos Backpackers Hostel – 13/night
    • Transportation: 2.70
    • Meals: 14.40
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
    • Attractions: 5.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €42.60 = US$45.32/day

    Tenerife prices and weather


    22Athens, Greece

    The Greek capital was once one of Europe's great bargain cities, and it has become reasonable again after the political instability in recent years. The infrastructure created for the Olympics has actually turned Athens into a modern and easy-to-visit place, and the Acropolis and other attractions continue to amaze, so it still seems like a good deal for the moment and may get even cheaper. Political protests have kept some people away, which has helped keep hotel and hostel prices affordable.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Zeus – 8/night
    • Transportation: 2.80
    • Meals: 19.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
    • Attractions: 8.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €45.50 = US$48.40/day

    Athens prices and weather


    23Lisbon, Portugal

    Its out-of-the-way location seems to keep tourism well below the levels that the city otherwise deserves, but those who go to the trouble to reach Lisbon will find an extremely handsome and charming city that is a great bargain as well. The city is particularly known for excellent and cheap hostels that are always in a race to outdo each other, with visitors being the ultimate winners. Lisbon is one of those destinations that many people avoid for a long time, and then after they visit they vow to return again and again.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Urban Garden Hostel – 10.50/night
    • Transportation: 2.80
    • Meals: 16.80
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 8.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €47.10 = US$50.11/day

    Lisbon prices and weather


    24Moscow, Russia

    Certainly one of the world's most important cities, Moscow continues also to be frustrating for many travelers, with relatively few hostels and traveler-friendly budget restaurants. The currency collapse brought prices down, although inflation has been bringing them back up again. Still, if you can get through the paperwork and find a cheap flight, it's a fairly cheap place for backpacker-types. Tourist hotels and restaurants can be quite expensive, so even though it's somewhat cheap for those willing to search for local deals, Moscow can be a drain for 3-star and above travelers.

    • Currency: Russian ruble
    • Best cheap hostel: Chillax Hostels 446/night
    • Transportation: 100
    • Meals: 1,416
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 900
    • Attractions: 400
    • Daily Backpacker Index: RUB3,262 = US$51.56/day

    Moscow prices and weather


    25Naples, Italy

    Italy's cheapest major city is a very good bargain for those willing to venture south of Rome. Affordable hostels and casual dining choices keep it cheaper than cities to the north, and it has a different atmosphere as well. Naples has almost no green space and a reputation for petty crime, which keeps many visitors away. If you want to see Naples on a day trip and also visit the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, and the island of Capri, you are better off staying in the lovely town of Sorrento, which is only a bit more expensive.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: La Controra Hostel Naples – 17/night
    • Transportation: 2.60
    • Meals: 15.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
    • Attractions: 9.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €50.20 = US$53.40/day

    Naples prices and weather


    26Madrid, Spain

    This classic European city definitely feels like a bargain compared to capitals to the north. There is great competition among its many hostels, and even private rooms in the city center are often cheap. Check out our cheap Madrid hotels list for well located and dependable bargains. Another money saver is the tapas culture, with cheap eats and cheap glasses of beer or wine as part of the nightly ritual.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Era – 13.90/night
    • Transportation: 3.00
    • Meals: 19.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
    • Attractions: 10.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €52.10 = US$55.43/day

    Madrid prices and weather


    27Valletta, Malta

    VallettaNearly hidden just a bit south of Sicily in the Mediterranean, Malta is a small island group with a pleasant climate and an improving tourist infrastructure. The tiny capital city of Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage site on its own, and the rest of the islands offer a nice mix of historical sites and pleasant beaches. Nearly everyone speaks English, so it continues to be popular with Brits. Valletta is actually the historic Old Town and most visitors are better off just across the harbor in the district called Sliema.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Corner Hostel Malta – 20/night
    • Transportation: 3
    • Meals: 15.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
    • Attractions: 6.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €54.10 = US$57.55/day

    Valletta prices and weather


    28Bruges, Belgium

    Bruges is a very good bargain for the backpacking set due to reasonably priced hostels and affordable attractions. In high season (summer) prices go up a bit, but still, Bruges is a fine choice to chill out for a few days or more, even though you can see the main sights in less time.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: St. Christopher’s Inn – Bauhaus Hostel – 17.00/night
    • Transportation: 2.60
    • Meals: 20.40
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
    • Attractions: 6.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €56.50 = US$60.11/day
    Bruges prices and weather

    29Berlin, Germany

    Berlin is officially booming, and is now one of Europe's most-visited destinations. This city has endless things to see and do, along with an arts and entertainment scene that rivals anywhere in Europe. The museums and attractions are priced reasonably, and can be efficiently bundled with a Berlin Card. All that, plus the competition among its many hostels keeps things pleasantly cheap. Put it on your list and schedule a trip before things change much. See our recommended hotels in Berlin list for some very good rates at highly rated and well located hotels.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Amstel House Hostel – 13.92/night
    • Transportation: 5.40
    • Meals: 16.80
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 12.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €57.12 = US$60.77/day

    Berlin prices and weather


    30Hamburg, Germany

    This somewhat remote city is largely forgotten by most North American visitors, known best as where the Beatles honed their chops, but Hamburg is a lovely and classy city that is worth a stop if you are in the area. Germans, in general, like good value, so there are plenty of good budget sleeping and eating options for the backpacker types. Hotel prices here are heavily influenced by trade fairs and business travelers, so it can be cheap one week and very expensive the next.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Backpackers St. Pauli – 19/night
    • Transportation: 3.00
    • Meals: 18.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 10.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €59.00 = US$62.77/day

    Hamburg prices and weather


    31Nice, France

    As the largest city on the Côte d'Azur, Nice actually has a decent infrastructure for budget tourists, though things can get pretty crowded in summer and prices do shoot up. This is a great base for exploring Monaco and Cannes with a short train journey, but even in the city itself, there is plenty to do, and a pleasant beach if you don't mind rocks where the sand should be.

    Note: Drink prices here are for wine rather than beer, as it's much cheaper and better as well.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Baccarat – 20/night
    • Transportation: 3.00
    • Meals: 19.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 8.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €59.20 = US$62.98
      /day

    Nice prices and weather


    32Dublin, Ireland

    For a city that was once considered cheap, Dublin still feels weirdly expensive, especially in light of the larger financial struggles a few years back. Fortunately there are some good deals on hostels these days, so hopefully, other things (like €5+ for a pint of Guinness in even a dumpy bar!) will loosen up and make the city friendlier for backpackers and budget travelers. Speaking of Guinness, if you are going to do the Guinness Brewery and the popular distillery tour, then the Dublin Pass is a great deal.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Abbey Court – 13.50/night (including breakfast)
    • Transportation: 3.00
    • Meals: 19.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 15.00
    • Attractions: 10.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €60.70 = US$64.57/day

    Dublin prices and weather


    33Salzburg, Austria

    SalzburgA classic tourist city, Salzburg is at the base of the Alps and it has one of the most impressive Old Towns anywhere in Europe. As the birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg is a key hub for classical concerts and festivals, but for non-Europeans, barceit's even more famous as the setting of the Sound of Music. The bus tours dedicated to that movie are more fun and far more scenic than you might expect.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: YoHo international Youth Hostel – 15/night
    • Transportation: 5.00
    • Meals: 21.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9
    • Attractions: 10
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €60.80 = US$64.68/day

    Salzburg prices and weather


    34Barcelona, Spain

    Barcelona and Madrid are very different in many important ways, but they are very similar in general prices so there's no reason not to visit both if you can. And this is another city where hostels tend to get expensive and crowded during summer but are quite cheap for most of the rest of the year. See our cheap and recommended Barcelona hotels list for some options that are well located and highly rated. If you have 2 or 3 days in town and want to see the main sights you should read our Barcelona Pass review as it might be helpful.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Fabrizzio’s Terrace Barcelona – 16.00/night
    • Transportation: 4.30
    • Meals: 19.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 13.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €61.50 = US$65.43/day

    Barcelona prices and weather


    35Florence, Italy

    A highlight of so many Italy tours, Florence is cheaper than Rome and Venice in most regards. Hostel competition is fierce and quality is mostly quite good, so this is a good hang-out for weary backpackers. And the food is excellent, if not particularly cheap. If you have extra days to spend in Italy on day trips then Florence is your best choice in the area. Pisa, the Cinque Terre, and many lovely Tuscan hill towns are within easy reach.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Tourist House Santa Croce – 21/night
    • Transportation: 2.40
    • Meals: 18.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 12.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €62.40 = US$66.38/day

    Florence prices and weather


    36Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Dubrovnik has one of the most amazing walled historic centers in the world, and it used to be considered a bargain compared to Italy. But now it's so popular with tourists and cruise passengers that it feels more than a bit pricey. If you are on the fence about visiting here, you are better off going to Split, which is similar, much cheaper, and easier to reach.

    • Currency: Croatian Kuna
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostel & Rooms Ana – Old Town – 119/night
    • Transportation: 24
    • Meals: 136.80
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 90.00
    • Attractions: 100.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: HRK469.80 = US$66.54/day

    Dubrovnik prices and weather


    37Edinburgh, Scotland

    While it's certainly true that most things in Edinburgh are a bit cheaper than things in London, it's not exactly cheap for most budget travelers. Those who are satisfied with skipping the Edinburgh Castle and the Camera Obscura will find this city very reasonable, except during the Festival season. Speaking of that, check our Edinburgh cheap travel tips for the festival season, which can actually be helpful all year round.

    • Currency: British pound
    • Best cheap hostel: High Street Hostel – 12.08/night
    • Transportation: 3.20
    • Meals: 15.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 14.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: £53.88 = US$67.35/day

    Edinburgh prices and weather


    38Munich, Germany

    MunichGermany's most pleasant city is only a bit more expensive than the others, so budget travelers can get by with few complications as long as they aren't going during Oktoberfest (when hotel and hostel prices triple). Prices of hostels do shoot up a bit during summer, but overall it's fairly easy to find bargains, and the city is so livable that it feels like good value.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Wombats City Hostel Munich – 22.36/night
    • Transportation: 5.20
    • Meals: 19.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 9.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €64.76 = US$68.89/day

    Munich prices and weather


    39Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

    This underrated and mostly forgotten city is definitely worth a stop if you are passing between Belgium and France. The location is stunning and the city's history is interesting, plus the food and drink culture is what you would expect for this part of Europe, meaning there are a lot of great choices.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Luxembourg City Hostel – 25.00/night (including breakfast)
    • Transportation: 4.00
    • Meals: 19.80
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
    • Attractions: 6.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €65.30 = US$69.47/day

    Luxembourg City prices and weather


    40Brussels, Belgium

    For the budget traveler, Brussels can be a bit difficult since the infrastructure is built mostly for business travelers and government employees. There aren't many hostel options, and cheap meals are a challenge in the city center area. Still, it's worth a look for the main square alone if you are heading to or from Bruges, which is much cheaper and listed above.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Brxxl 5 City Centre Hostel – 18/night
    • Transportation: 4.00
    • Meals: 21.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
    • Attractions: 10.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €65.60 = US$69.79/day

    Brussels prices and weather


    41Rome, Italy

    Regardless of costs, Rome is one of those cities that you've just got to visit anyway, so, fortunately, it's not as outrageously expensive as some lesser destinations a bit down the list. There are good budget options for most things, but hotels and hostels are more expensive than one might expect, and the main Rome attractions are justifiably expensive as well. Choose from our recommended Rome hostels and hotels for excellent bargains with great locations. The Rome and Vatican Card is a good way to see the main attractions and skip the very long queues here.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: The Yellow – 23.10/night
    • Transportation: 3.00
    • Meals: 19.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 12.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €66.30 = US$70.73/day

    Rome prices and weather


    42Vienna, Austria

    Being one of Europe's grandest capitals, it's only slightly surprising that Vienna comes out as a relatively expensive city. Its location between so many other tourist cities makes it an easy one to stop off in for a few days, and while food is a bit expensive, there are some good-value hostels in the city to help make up for it. The Vienna Pass is a good way to save money while seeing the top attractions, but only if you are well organized.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Wombats City Hostel – at The Naschmarkt – 17.26/night
    • Transportation: 4.40
    • Meals: 20.40
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
    • Attractions: 14.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €66.56 = US$70.81/day

    Vienna prices and weather


    43Milan, Italy

    Milan's success in finance and fashion have helped make it one of Europe's most expensive cities to sleep in, although the hostels aren't as outrageous, so overall expenses are similar to most other Italian cities. Since it's on-the-way between so many other nearby cities, Milan is definitely worth a stop for a day or two if you can manage it, but don't feel bad if you skip it.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Koala Hostel – 26.40/night
    • Transportation: 4.00
    • Meals: 18.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
    • Attractions: 10.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €68.90 = US$73.30/day

    Milan prices and weather


    44Ibiza, Spain

    While it's not really considered a backpacking destination, Ibiza is popular enough with budget travelers to include here. Hotels can be quite cheap outside of July and August, which makes up for a lack of hostels. Entrance to the main nightclubs in Ibiza will cost a fortune, as will drinks once inside, but if you are content to hang out on the beach then this island can be affordable. Note that the hotel price here is for May, and in summer it will be considerably more. If these rankings were for July, Ibiza would be way down this list, so it's only really a bargain in the offseason.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostal Residencia Adelino – 30.00/night
    • Transportation: 2.60
    • Meals: 18.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 10.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €69.60 = US$74.04/day

    Ibiza prices and weather


    45Paris, France

    Similar to Rome, it's just a good thing that Paris isn't any more expensive than it is because people are going to visit anyway. As long as you are willing to stay a bit outside the main tourist districts then Paris can be quite reasonable on the wallet, and the quality of food is exceptional nearly anywhere you go. The main attractions are actually fairly cheap compared to major sights in some other big cities, and you might save even more money with a Paris Pass. To get the best value have a look at our recommended Paris hostels and cheap hotels section.

    Note: Drink prices here are for wine rather than beer, as it's much cheaper and better as well.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Vintage Hostel Gare du Nord – 22.90/night
    • Transportation: 3.60
    • Meals: 20.40
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
    • Attractions: 12.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €70.90 = US$75.43/day
    Paris prices and weather

    46Helsinki, Finland

    Helsinki, like Stockholm and Oslo below, has a good economy, but along with it they have very high wages and taxes, and that makes things expensive for outsiders. Even hostels are quite expensive, and hotels are worse. As nice as it may be, if cities had prices reflecting their desirability, Helsinki would be much, much cheaper than it is.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: CheapSleep Helsinki – 19.78/night
    • Transportation: 4.40
    • Meals: 22.80
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 18.00
    • Attractions: 7.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €72.58 = US$77.21/day

    Helsinki prices and weather


    47Amsterdam, Netherlands

    From a price standpoint, Amsterdam may be a victim of its own popularity. Even with scores of hostels throughout the city center, they are still able to get fairly high rates even during the shoulder season. Pick from our recommended Amsterdam hostels and cheap hotels for great value and locations. The famous attractions are on the expensive side, though good deals are always available on food and drinks if you know where to look. Budget travelers will have to book a place way outside the center in order to find a decent deal, and unfortunately, Amsterdam loses some of its charms if you have to commute in and out like that.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Flying Pig Uptown – 27.90/night
    • Transportation: 5.60
    • Meals: 15.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
    • Attractions: 15.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €76.10 = US$80.96/day

    Amsterdam prices and weather


    48Copenhagen, Denmark

    The Danish capital is one of the famously expensive Scandinavian cities, but its currency has also eased so it's a better bargain in 2017. Quality does tend to be quite high, and Copenhagen is arguably one of the prettiest cities in all of Europe, so the higher prices feel somewhat justified. Still, it's a tough place for the backpacker crowd, especially for those who drink.

    • Currency: Danish kroner
    • Best cheap hostel: Sleep in Heaven – 168.13/night
    • Transportation: 48
    • Meals: 168
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 120
    • Attractions: 80
    • Daily Backpacker Index: DKK584.13 = US$83.33/day

    Copenhagen prices and weather


    49Interlaken, Switzerland

    InterlakenThe big cities in Switzerland are awesomely expensive because everything is priced for business travelers and the like, so budget travelers are better off skipping them in favor of the small towns of Interlaken or Lucerne to get better views and lower prices. Interlaken itself feels a bit tired, so head straight up to Gimmelwald or one of the other mountain towns for the best experience.

    • Currency: Swiss Franc
    • Best cheap hostel: Happy Inn Lodge – 23.75/night
    • Transportation: 0 (local transport is free for overnight guests)
    • Meals: 38.40
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 15.00
    • Attractions: 10.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: CHF87.15 = US$85.44/day

    Interlaken prices and weather


    50London, England

    London is famously pricey, but it's also a weird one for budget travelers since it actually has somewhat affordable hostels (at least outside of peak season), and all the major museums are actually free. However, pretty much everything else feels outrageously expensive, particularly the other attractions like the Tower of London and the London Eye. The post-Brexit currency slide has helped bring prices down, but it still ain't exactly cheap. Those wishing to save by bundling these top attractions should consider a London Pass. For cheap hotel and hostel, options see our recommended London hostel and hotels page. If this is your first visit you should also read our list of the best things to do in London, including current prices for all of them.

    • Currency: British pound
    • Best cheap hostel: Smart Russell Square Hostel – 16.10/night (including breakfast)
    • Transportation: 4.80
    • Meals: 21.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
    • Attractions: 15.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: £68.90 = US$86.13/day

    London prices and weather


    51Stockholm, Sweden

    Backpackers who want to visit the homeland of most of their furniture have to go a long distance out of the way to reach Stockholm, and then face shocking prices once they arrive. This is another city where almost nothing is cheap no matter where you look. The long-promised ABBA Museum is now open and it's predictably expensive as well. This is a beautiful city that you will really enjoy for a few days, as long as you can afford it.

    • Currency: Swedish kronor
    • Best cheap hostel: Stanstulls Hostel – 207/night
    • Transportation: 72
    • Meals: 216
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 150
    • Attractions: 150
    • Daily Backpacker Index: SEK795 = US$87.08/day

    Stockholm prices and weather


    52Oslo, Norway

    As oil prices collapsed in late 2014, the Norwegian currency did as well. Now this gorgeous country is still pricey but not outrageous like it was a couple years ago when it was on par with Switzerland. Flights into Oslo can be quite cheap as well, although Bergen (below) is probably a better choice if you have to choose just one.

    • Currency: Norwegian kroner
    • Best cheap hostel: Anker Hostel – 258/night
    • Transportation: 60
    • Meals: 228
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 150
    • Attractions: 60
    • Daily Backpacker Index: NOK756 = US$69.68/day

    Oslo prices and weather


    53Bergen, Norway

    BergenEven with a lower Norwegian currency, Bergen is still very pricey compared to the rest of Europe. This is the gateway to the beautiful fjords of Norway, and the city itself is more interesting and easier to visit than Oslo. Actually, hotels here are very good quality and decent value. It's the food and drinks that feel so overpriced, and the few hostels feel weirdly expensive as well.

    • Currency: Norwegian kroner
    • Best cheap hostel: HI Montana Youth and Family Hostel – 228/night
    • Transportation: 62
    • Meals: 240
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 180
    • Attractions: 60
    • Daily Backpacker Index: NOK770 = US$91.34/day

    Bergen prices and weather


    54Venice, Italy

    No surprises to find Venice so far down the affordability list, but once again this is a city where it's all easily justifiable, and fortunately, you can see all the main sights in just two days and one night if you are tight on funds. Of course, most cheaper hotels are not even on the main island, but getting back and forth is cheap and easy. Check our cheap and recommended Venice hotels list for some great choices.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Ostello S. Fosca – 31.36/night
    • Transportation: 7.00
    • Meals: 26.40
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
    • Attractions: 12.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €88.76 = US$94.43/day

    Venice prices and weather


    55Reykjavik, Iceland

    After its currency collapsed in 2008, Iceland cost about half what it did previously for foreigners, but prices crept up and up, and it's again very expensive. Reykjavik isn't a particularly charming city, which is fine because the appeal of Iceland is the amazing scenery everywhere else. If you plan a trip to Iceland, don't linger in the capital longer than you have to. Accommodation and food on rest of the island are also fairly expensive, but the whole island is stunning and almost everything is free once you get there.

    • Currency: Iceland kronur
    • Best cheap hostel: Reykjavik Hostel Village – 2933/night
    • Transportation: 800
    • Meals: 3,720
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 2,100
    • Attractions: 1,500
    • Daily Backpacker Index: ISK11,053 = US$99.30/day

    Reykjavik prices and weather


    56Zurich, Switzerland

    Certainly no surprise here, especially considering that Zurich also came out on top on our survey of world taxi prices. Switzerland is a rich country and Zurich is its very-rich main city, so the hotel and restaurant scenes are dominated by business travelers and those on expense accounts. It's a nice enough place, but honestly, Bern is more interesting, and the highlights of the country are in the scenery rather than in the cities.

    • Currency: Swiss franc
    • Best cheap hostel: Youthhostel Zurich – 48.76/night
    • Transportation: 5.20
    • Meals: 37.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 21.00
    • Attractions: 15.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: CHF127.16 = US$124.67/day

    Zurich prices and weather

     

    How to use this information

    As mentioned at the top, these prices are for a typical group of expenses for a backpacker, and you could even say these are “average prices” for each city, but definitely not “minimum prices.” Those who never drink, only eat two meals a day, and/or skip most museums or attractions can get by on much less. However, if your style of travel is more minimalistic than this, the order of these cities should still be more or less the same.

    Each city name is linked to a page that contains specific prices for many more things and is converted to US dollars or any other currency you wish on a daily basis.

     

    (source: priceoftravel.com)

    CONTACTLESS CARD THEFT: USERS WARNED TO WATCH OUT FOR 'DIGITAL PICKPOCKETS'

    CONTACTLESS CARD THEFT: USERS WARNED TO WATCH OUT FOR 'DIGITAL PICKPOCKETS'

    A Facebook post which claims to show a man using a contactless card reader to steal money from members of the public has got some people worried about the security of their bank accounts.

    The image, which first appeared in Russian media, shows a man standing on public transport holding a mobile card reader in his hand. 

    It is claimed that by keying an amount into the terminal and holding it against the pockets of unsuspecting targets, he could steal money out of their accounts via their contactless cards.

    There's not much context to the picture, and there's nothing to suggest the man is a new kind of 'digital pickpocket'. But it's theoretically possible to steal money in this way, and it's got some people worried.

    Some card machines in shops, cafes, and restaurants need to be connected to a landline terminal to work. More advanced devices, which are common across the country, use GPRS to make a connection - allowing merchants to take card payments almost anywhere.

    If a thief had one of these GPRS-enabled machines, they would be able to 'skim' victims' contactless cards almost anywhere, without them knowing.

    However, most banks require their customers to have a business bank account if they want to take card payments - starting one of these accounts naturally involves handing over personal information to the bank, making the criminal traceable if a victim noticed the transaction on their statement.

    Customers could get a refund from the bank if they spotted the fraudulent activity, and if the bank traced the theft to the criminal's account, they could get shut down. But by that point, it might be too late.

    Using this method to steal from people is harder than it seems, and out of the millions of people in the UK who own contactless cards, there have only been a few reported cases of these kinds of thefts taking place.

    Those worried about being targeted could invest in RFID-blocking card sleeves, which prevent cards from being read by scanners. However, the effectiveness of certain brands has been debated. Tests have shown that wrapping cards in tin foil can achieve the same effect.

    Although the prevalence of this type of crime may be overblown, contactless card skimming isn't completely implausible, and taking these security measures could give you peace of mind.

    Despite the potential risks, contactless payments are on the rise - there are over 70 million of the cards in circulation across the UK, and one in three card payments made in London in 2014 was contactless.

    A security flaw could allow thieves to steal information from contactless payments cards of millions of people, allowing them to buy items costing thousands of pounds.

    Card-reading technology, which was acquired "easily and cheaply" online by consumer group Which?, allowed researchers to remotely "steal" enough data from the cards to make purchases – including that of a £3,000 television.

    The group has said six debit cards and four credit cards were tested in the study, and all of them revealed some data.

    But is everybody who uses contactless payments at risk – and what should they do if their data is stolen?

    Who could be affected by this?

    A total of 58 million contactless cards are currently in circulation across the UK, according to Which? although the group does say statistics are not available for the number of thefts committed by contactless card readers.

    The researchers did say though that all of the cards they tested revealed some information.

    The UK Cards Association, the card payments industry's trade body, has pointed out however that last year, the total loss from contactless fraud was £153,000, compared to £2.32bn total spending – the equivalent of 0.7p in every £100 spent.

    How is the data stolen?

    Your account information is contained on a chip held within your contactless card, which is transferred to a card-reading terminal when the two come into close contact.

    The team at Which? said they were able to obtain card-reading technology from  "a mainstream website" to allow them to steal information.

    A spokesman said: "Contactless cards are coded to 'mask' personal data, but using an easily obtainable reader and free software to decode data, we were able to read the card number and expiry date from all 10 cards."

    Would thieves not need more information in order to buy items?

    Making purchases online and over the phone usually requires not only the card number and expiry date, but also the name of the cardholder and the card's security, or CVV, code.

    While the team did not expect to be able to make purchases without these details, they were proved wrong.

    The spokesman said: "We were also able to read limited details of the last 10 transactions, although no cards revealed the CVV security code (the number on the back).

    "We doubted we'd be able to make purchases without the cardholder's name or CVV code - but we were wrong.

    "We ordered two items - one a £3,000 TV - from a mainstream online shop using 'stolen' card details, combined with a false name and address."

    Aren't contactless card payments limited to £20?

    Yes, although the limit will in fact be increased to £30 in September. Regardless, this limit is for contactless payments only. Having obtained the card details, the team were able to shop online, and so the transaction limit was bypassed.

    The Which? spokesman said: "By touching volunteers' cards to our card reader, we got enough details to allow us to go on an internet shopping spree. With these card details, the contactless transaction limit is irrelevant, because online transactions aren't contactless."

    What can I do to protect myself?

    The UK Cards Association has said this is not a new issue, and indeed there has been advice circulated for a number of years on how cardholders may be able to stop their details from being stolen.

    Metal cases are available to buy which claim to protect cards from such readers, while Which? said in their tests they found wrapping a card in foil prevented details from being taken by their reader.

    In December last year meanwhile, The Independent reported how new jeans had been endorsed by computer security firm Norton after they were launched to keep "digital pickpockets" at bay.

    The jeans, along with a blazer, contain pockets with fabric that blocks the waves criminals use to steal the data.

    What should I do if my details are stolen?

    The UK Cards Association has said consumers are "fully protected against any fraud losses on contactless cards and will never be left out of pocket".

    A spokesman said: "If you think your data has been stolen then contact your bank or card company straight away and report it.

    "Essentially, if there is fraud on your account you will get your money back."

     

    Feel free and have a look to this RFID wallet to save your money and a lot of headaches.

     

    (source: independent.co.uk) 

    How to use Instagram to plan your next trip: 5 tips

    How to use Instagram to plan your next trip: 5 tips

    We’re all familiar with Instagram. It’s a great way to share photos of how Starbucks misspelled your name, videos of you zip lining through the Costa Rican jungle to make your viewers jealous, or even stories of a South African sunset on the beach.

    But what you might not be familiar with is that Instagram can also help you plan your next trip – here’s how:

    1. Ye Olde Hashtag

    Let’s not forget about our good old friend – the hashtag. Hashtags are a way to categorize topics, cities, countries and other cool spots. Let’s say you’re interested in checking out Asia, but you’re not sure which country to visit. So you look up #Asia and as you’re scrolling, you find a picture of monkeys bathing in hot springs and think, “That’s where I want to be!” Then, upon further digging – say with geotags for instance (more on that in a bit)- you find out that you can find these monkeys, the Japanese Macaque, in, yup, you guessed it – Japan. Then you continue to explore further by checking #Japan #Tokyo #thingstodoinjapan and so forth.

    2. Location, Location, Location

    The geotag on Instagram allows you to add the location of where you took the picture – and that’s where inspiration can come from. Let’s say someone posts this really cool photo of them by a graffiti wall and the location shows up as “Wynwood Wall,” you can click on this location tag and find out that it’s located in Miami. Then you can start writing a list of must-sees for Miami and before you know it, you have a rough draft itinerary prepared based on your own personal tastes and preferences.

    3. Travelers, Bloggers, Locals

    Instagram is packed with fellow travelers and travel bloggers. If you look up a hashtag such as #travel or #travelblogger, you will find millions upon millions of accounts – and I’m not even exaggerating here. Instagram also has a nice feature that showcases the nine top posts of the day so you can see the most liked posts. Once you click on these and explore a bit more, you can find a new destination or even a new blogger to follow or get inspired by. Locals, of course, are another obvious choice which you can also check with geotags, account biography information or even by being creative with your search such as #home.

    4. Tourism Boards

    Tourism boards are important for the tourism industry of many countries and are also plentiful on Instagram – cities and countries have accounts such as @visitchina or @sydney, accounts that are dedicated to offering you tips and advice on places to see, eat at, sleep in and discover.

    5. Get Social!

    Lastly, let’s not forget what social media is actually meant for – socializing! Write under the comments section when you find an interesting place and ask questions or try to get some tips. If you don’t know the account owner but are feeling brave – send a private message to ask for further details – your questions might just also help inspire a new blog post if the person is a writer. And use your own network as well. Feel free to post a picture of a dream location or someplace you have planned and ask for tips, you’ll never know who could offer some great advice or hook you up with a local contact to get a real authentic experience during your time there.

    Happy (Insta) travels!

    (source: ef.com)

    21 things not to forget when packing for your vacation

    21 things not to forget when packing for your vacation

    Heading to the Sahara without a hat? Up the creek without a paddle? Avoid a vacation disaster with our travel checklist and packing tips.

    21 things not to forget when packing for your vacation

     

    With your flights and hotel booked, the luggage is the last thing stopping you from that great holiday. We know it feels like a chore, but if you follow our expert packing tips you’ll never have to worry.

    1. Make a list

    Ok, so it sounds a little boring, but idiot-proof lists are the gateway to a stress-free holiday. Separate your essentials from your desirables, and be realistic with your luggage limitations. If you need list inspiration – the following might be a good place to start…

    2. Don’t forget the first aid kit

    We’re not asking you to prepare for ER, just a small bag of the most necessary pills and medicine you might need. After all, nobody wants to suffer a punishing headache, high-climate fever, upset stomach or all three during a holiday. It might be easy enough to pick up a domestic remedy for your ailments at home, but medicines in the country you are visiting may be limited to prescription only. The same goes for allergy meds and asthma remedies – bring them on board!

    3. Limit your liquids

    We all know about it by now, and yet there’s still a mass confusion and hold-up when some chancer tries to sneak a bottle of water past airport security. Much to everybody’s chagrin, pan-European baggage restrictions state that all liquids carried in hand luggage must be no more than 100 ml per item, and must fit into one small and resealable transparent bag (usually available at the airport for a nominal fee). If you’re carrying anything larger, stow it with your checked-in suitcase.

    4. Name tags are there to help

    Unless you’re an international man of mystery, you shouldn’t have to worry about traveling incognito. Most suitcases come with name tags fitted as standard, so be sure to fill them in just in case you – or the airline – lose your luggage!

    5. Observe restrictions on baggage

    Observe restrictions on baggage

    If your airline says: “23kg”, then they mean 23kg! Weigh your bags before you get to the airport and make sure you are within the restrictions, otherwise, you’ll be forced to cough up extra cash at the airport or, even worse, have to say goodbye to that lovely hand-knitted cardigan your grandmother spent so long slaving over. We’ve all tried to squeeze that extra pair of pants in the already overstuffed suitcase, but the restrictions are there for a reason, and that reason is your safety. Which reminds us…

    6. Save bag space for all your holiday purchases

    Whether it’s duty-free goods or holiday mementos, it’s inevitable that you’ll be bringing more back home with you than when you left – so make sure you have room for it!

    7. Skip the shoes

    The biggest and most frustrating item of luggage. How many pairs of shoes you should take is very much dependent on how long your vacation might be, but we’d suggest that three pairs is a reasonable average for a 1-2 week getaway. More important than volume is versatility, so make sure you’re not stuck hiking in stilettos by bringing a pair of shoes for every realistic occasion of your trip. Wear your most cumbersome pair on the plane – plus, stuff your socks in the rest – and you’ll save even more space.

    8. Cosmetics – at a minimum!

    Unless you plan on traveling to a desert island, it’s likely that you’ll be able to pick up popular shampoo or sun lotion brands in almost any corner of the world. Fewer cosmetics also mean that you’ll be less likely to find an explosion of nondescript gooey liquids spoiling everything in your suitcase when you arrive at your destination. If you really can’t live without that special face cream, try to take only as much as you’ll need for your trip and nothing more. That way you can discard the empties and save extra luggage room for your trip back home.

    9. Keep on rolling…

    This tip is certainly up for debate, but we think that rolling your clothes really is the only way to go. Not only will it reduce those pesky wrinkles and creases in your gear, it’ll save you some much-needed suitcase space.

    10. All valuables go in hand luggage

     Observe restrictions on baggage

    It’s rare that airlines lose luggage these days, but why take the risk? Stay safe and stow all your expensive luxuries – from your camera to your diamond engagement ring – in hand luggage.

    11. Don’t forget the adapters

    If you do need them, save on the crazy airport prices by buying them ahead of your trip.

    12. Pack all-rounder fashions, not eccentric statement pieces

    You might want to pack that banana costume for your trip, but is it really necessary? Fancy dress or no, this is a question you should really ask yourself when pressed for suitcase space. Pack great all-rounder attire and a classy evening outfit, but leave those outlandish statement pieces for a night out at home.

    13. Be delicate with your delicates

    If you have to pack any china plates or glass goods, wrapping them in bubble wrap or in-between clothes and putting them right in the middle of your case is the safest way to make sure they arrive with you in one piece.

    14. Categorise your clothes

    Pack clothes in groups: that means shirts with shirts, pants with pants -it’s easier to find what you need and unpack on the other side.

    15. Pack a mini closet in your hand luggage

    Not literally, of course, but it’s always a nice idea to add a clean set of underwear and a garment in your carry-on bag, in case of your luggage being lost in an airplane mix-up.

    16. Don’t predict the weather – check it

    Don’t predict the weather – check it

    Depending on where you’re going, weather forecasts are either your holiday’s best friend or biggest foe. Come rain or shine, meteorologists will always give you the best idea of what weather to expect on your holiday. Check the day before you fly and pack accordingly, and save room for that trusty pac-a-mac or umbrella you hope you’ll never have to use.

    17. No onboard manicure

    Tip for the well-groomed flyer: if you’re thinking about carrying a nail file, scissors, or any other sharp primping tool in your luggage – give up the idea! They are prohibited and airport workers will ask you to get rid of them.

    18. The most necessary things go on top

    If you believe that a particular thing can be useful to you very soon (perhaps at the airport), for example, a jacket – put it on top. Very obvious advice, but perhaps it’s so obvious that you’d be bound to forget otherwise!

    19.  Towels?

    Towels! Yet another pesky space-filler you need to think long and hard about whether you actually need. Check ahead of time to see if your holiday accommodation will be providing them (they probably will) and pack accordingly.

    20. Strip at airport security

    It’s unlikely you’ll be asked to strip down to your undergarments, but it’s possible that you’ll be asked to undress a bit as you go through to the terminal. This usually means taking shoes, belts, and jackets off, and removing any jewelry or metal goods. Travelling with a laptop or tablet device? Be prepared to present your gadgets to the friendly security staff too.

    21. Don’t leave home without the essentials

    This penultimate tip is a big one as, without these necessities, you won’t be heading anywhere but home: check and check again that you have your monies, a valid passport and – for the sake of your holiday companions – a toothbrush. Keep these all on hand and then you’ll be able to remember the most important thing…

     

    (source: momondo.com)

    25 Travel things to ad to your bucket list.

    25 Travel things to ad to your bucket list.

    It's often said that traveling leaves you speechless, before turning you into a storyteller. I predict that if you manage to tick off all 25 things on this list you're going to have some pretty cool stories to talk about when you're older. In no particular order, here are Smaller Earth's 25 amazing things to do before you die. #BucketListGoals

    1. DIVE THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

    Dive the great barrier reef

    In North Eastern Australia you will find The Great Barrier Reef, visible from Outer Space this ocean masterpiece is the largest living thing on the planet. The Reef is a whopping 2,300km-long ecosystem. It comprises of thousands of reefs and islands, made up of hundreds of different coral types. This colorful ecosystem is home to thousands of different types of fish, sharks, shells, starfish, turtles, and dolphins. Grab a snorkel and a Go Pro and you'll capture some of the best footage this planet has to offer.

     

    2. ROADTRIP DOWN ROUTE 1 IN CALIFORNIA

    Roadtrip down route 1 in California

    Starting from one end to another this beautiful coast-hugging road will take you from San Francisco Bay down to San Diego. You will never see a blue as vivid as the Pacific Coast. As you wind down from San Francisco you will pass through Big Sur, Santa Barbara, Malibu, Los Angeles and Orange County before ending up in San Diego. You can camp at sites along the way, chill at the golden beaches, ride the ocean swell, and eat at the vibrant towns along the way. Hire a convertible, throw on some Beach Boys and make sure to take a camera. 

     

    3. CAPTURE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS

    CAPTURE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS Capture the northern lights

    The Northern Lights can be seen from many locations, but the further north you go the better the lights will be. More formally known as the aurora borealis these mysterious rays of light create an almost lava lamp like spectacle in the sky. It is the result of fast moving highly charged electrical particles created by the sun. It's fair to say the Northern Lights will dazzle you.

    Check out our latest Smaller Earth programme: Summer Camp Canada

     

    4. INTER-RAIL AROUND EUROPE

    INTER-RAIL AROUND EUROPE Inter-rail around Europe

    An inter-rail pass can ultimately tick off a handful of European countries in one trip. It gives you the opportunity to delve deep into different European cultures, visit historic cities and towns, discover some of the world's best landscapes, gateways, and trails. Whether it's two weeks, one month or longer, it's the ultimate summer trip for the first time gap year backpacker. 

     

    5. DISCOVER PETRA, JORDAN

    Discover Petra in Jordan

    Petra or "The Rose City" is an archaeological site found in the desert of Jordan. The entrance to Al Khazneh carved into the red mountain rock is 45m high and dates back to around 300BC, it's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the seven new wonders of the world. Petra was once a thriving trading city until it was abandoned and left in ruins for centuries. You might recognize it from the Indiana Jones film 'The Last Crusade'. 

     

    6. VISIT THE TAJ MAHAL

    Visit the Taj Mahal

    The Taj Mahal was commissioned in the 17th century by Shah Jahan, a Mughal emperor. It's located in Agra, India. The mausoleum took over 20 years to build, a world heritage site that is one of the most famed pieces of architecture in the world. A symbol of India built around Indian, Persian and Islamic influences. Around 3 million people visit this spectacular landmark every day. 

     

    7. EXPLORE ANGKOR THOM

    Explore the Angkor Thom

    Angkor Thom, located in Cambodia Asia, was the last city of the 12th century Khmer Empire. A city that represents one of humankind's most astonishing and enduring feats of architectural achievement. Most of the city has disappeared but these beautiful remains are one for the bucket list.

     

    8. VISIT LAKE LOUISE, BANFF

    Visit the Lake Louise, Banff

    Lake Louise is located in Banff National Park in Canada. The Park itself holds some of the best ski resorts, hiking trails and lakes in the world, but none of them are quite as famous as Lake Louise. Often described as 'The Diamond in the Wilderness'. It's surrounded by glaciers and waterfalls. If this is on your bucket list then bring an extra battery for your camera. 

     

    9. CATCH A SUNSET AT THE GRAND CANYON

    Catch a sunset at the Grand Canyon

    No travel list is complete without having The Grand Canyon on it. This rugged, beautiful natural formation of red rock stretches as far as the eye can see in almost every direction. The Grand Canyon National Park is more than just a pretty sunset though, you can go hiking, camping, spot rare wildlife and even go white water rafting at the Colorado River. 

     

    10. STAND BEFORE THE GREAT PYRAMID OF GIZA

    Stand before the Great Pyramid of Giza

    Ancient Egypt is one of the most fascinating and studied cultures of all time. A civilization that left us a legacy with The Great Pyramid of Giza. It is the oldest and most intact of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World and a symbol of the great Egyptian architecture. The pyramid took over 20 years to build and to stand in its presence is awe-inspiring.

     

    11. HIKE THE GREAT INCE TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU 

    Hike the great Ince trail to Machu Picchu

    For many travelers to Peru, a visit to the lost Incan city of Machu Picchu is the whole purpose of their trip. With its awe-inspiring location, it is the best-known and most spectacular archaeological site on the continent. Apart from a few indigenous Quechuas, nobody knew of Machu Picchu's existence until American Historian Hiram Bingham stumbled upon it in 1911.

     

    12. FALL IN LOVE WITH PARIS

    Fall in love with Paris

    "We'll always have Paris" France's capital is one of the most historic and beautiful European cities. The language, the food, the art, the culture, everything about Paris will leave you wanting more. From its quirky cafe's to its scenic landmarks Paris will find a place in your heart. 

     

    13. VISIT THE ISLE OF SKYE

    A trip to the Isle of Skye will give you landscapes and views to rival anywhere in the world. From its pure sandy shores to the picture-perfect waterfalls it's an island full of hidden treasures. 

     

    14. GET LOST IN VENICE

    Get lost in Venice

    Stunning architecture. Mysterious passageways. And of course, the canals. Venice is one of the most alluring cities in the world- the type of place where, as a visitor, you'll welcoming getting lost.

     

    15. GO ON AN AFRICAN SAFARI

    An African safari is surely high on the dream list of any wildlife enthusiast, intrepid traveler or adventure seeker. Safaris in Africa are unforgettable – and no two will ever be the same.

     

    16. WALK THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA

    Walk the Great Wall of China

    The Great Wall of China is one of the true wonders of the world. It winds up and down across deserts, grasslands, mountains, and rivers for around 13,170 miles. (so maybe don't walk all of it!) It's over 2000 years old and a famed tourist spot for its architectural grandeur and historical significance.

     

    17. VISIT THE THE NATIONAL KHAO SOK PARK, THAILAND 

    Many believe this lowland jungle (Thailand's rainiest spot) is over 160 million years old, one of the world's oldest rainforests. Dramatic limestone formations and waterfalls cascade through juicy thickets drenched with rain and morning dew.  Whether it's riding in the back of an open Tuk-Tuk, or racing across the waves in a longtail boat, a journey through Thailands islands always feels like a real adventure. Thailands beauty has no ends.

    You can visit this on our Best of Thailand Tour

     

    18. WALKTHROUGH ASHIKAGA FLOWER PARK, JAPAN

    WALKTHROUGH ASHIKAGA FLOWER PARK, JAPAN Walkthrough Ashikaga flower park, Japan

    Space travel to James Cameron's Pandora in "Avatar" would be pretty much ideal, but until that becomes possible, the Ashikaga Flower Park is the next best thing on the list.

     

    19. VISIT ROME

    They say all roads lead to Rome and it's easy to see why a city steeped in history and culture that paved its way through our history books. From the famous ancient Colosseum to the nearby Vatican City you are surrounded by beauty in Rome. 

     

    20. VISIT SANTORINI

    Visit Santorini

    Santorini may well have conquered a corner of your imagination before you’ve even set eyes on it. The main island of Thira will take your breath away with its snowdrift of white Cycladic houses lining the cliff tops. When the sun sets, the reflection on the buildings and the glow of the orange and red in the cliffs can be truly spectacular.

     

    21. SAIL AROUND HALONG BAY, VIETNAM

    Being recognized as Natural Wonder of the World by UNESCO, Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful destinations in Vietnam for travelers who love discovering nature. One of the best way to explore this wonder of the world is a cruise trip through rock islands, caves and spectacular beaches.

     

    22. HIKE TO THE WULINGYUAN SCENIC AREA

    With its towering sandstone pillars, dizzying stone bridges and mysterious caves, the Wulingyuan Scene Area is one of China's most aesthetic natural sites. 

     

    23. EXPLORE BAGAN: MYANMAR

    EXPLORE BAGAN: MYANMAR Explore Bagan, Myanmar

    Bagan (or Pagan) is an ancient city that was the capital of the first Burmese Empire. Bagan serves as home to temples and buildings built from the 11th century to the 13th century. There are more than 2000 pagodas and temples to be found that were built by ancient kings.

     

    24. STAND ON PREACHERS ROCK, NORWAY

    Stand on Preacher's Rock, Norway

    "The Pulpit Rock" is a square formation of rock resembling a pulpit, standing 604 meters above the Lysefjord. The hike takes about two hours and when you face the view on the top, you will immediately see why this remarkable rocky plateau receives well over 200.000 visitors every year.

     

    25. IGUAZU FALLS, ARGENTINA

    The exquisite Iguaza Falls is also known as the Iguassu Falls or Iguacu Falls. The magnificent spectacle of these 275 individual drops has awed tourist, locals and indigenous inhabitants for centuries.

     

    (source: smallerearth.com)

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