We went on a trip organised by the Livingstone Tanzania trust and we spent time visiting places we would have been scared of visiting without their help, staying with families in their homes and seeing an Africa we'd never seen before. The different tribes were fascinating and the landscapes completely beautiful.
Before our safari we visited the school that they sponsor, met the kids and saw their farm. The safari was a budget one, budget because we stayed in a local guest house rather than in expensive European ones and so the money was kept in the community, which was important to us. The vehicles were excellent and the guides knowledgable and friendly. We saw no other white faces!
Based in Babati, 175km from Arusha.
Upon arrival in Tokyo Narita International airport (or just before you leave!), don't just rush headlong into the city... If you have come long-haul and are tired, there's nothing better than to get your head down at one of the airport hotels for a few hours, and then use Narita as a gentle introduction to Japan/Tokyo. It is a nice small town, which is very walkable, and has many little gems including a temple, local restaurants, shops and backstreet pubs. Prices for food, hotels et al will be much cheaper that Tokyo city, and it allows you to acclimatise in a much less hectic/congested atmosphere. I have always found it a perfect way to take a breather before business in Japan and/or exploring the country on vacation.
On your own in Tokyo? Search out large office blocks, daytime or night time, there's usually a food court either at ground or upper level. Japan can be expensive and this is an easy and inexpensive way to eat out alone. Don't worry about the language, there are the plastic plates to point out.
All over town
Want to save money on your next hotel stay? All you have to do is ask. Whilst hotels often publish the 'best deal' on their websites, hidden promotional codes and special offers may not automatically show. Contact your desired hotel directly and they will more often than not offer you the real best rate. Even if they don't have a special rate or negotiated rate for your company, I have contacted chains before such as the Westin, and they have offered me a 10% discount for working for a 'recognised corporate'. If you don't ask you don't get!
This is one of the few beach areas in Cuba that is not spoiled by lots of hotels and thousands of tourists. There is only one hotel and 12 rooms. Plus this small island is a game park.
Listen to the traditional sounds of the underground music scene in Greece (a strangely likable blend of blues and bouzouki) at this little club away from the tourist crowds of Plaka. Rembetiki Stoa Athanaton is a popular place with a fun crowd just north of the Monastiraki flea market. As with much of Athens, things didn’t start warming up until midnight.
Located in trendy Gazi among lively clubs, Sardelles has fresh Greek seafood at affordable prices. There’s a selection of decent salads and fish dishes, including delicious grilled sardines which are a bit of a specialty and where the restaurant gets its name. Tables on the pavement make it a pleasant al-fresco spot in summer.
Persefonis 15, Gazi
In the Old Town, this little café is friendly and cheaper than most places in the area. The coffee is decent and there’s a little cult bookshop downstairs along with free wi-fi for all which is a real bonus for travellers with laptops as using the internet can be a pricey experience in Stockholm.
Stora Nygatan 35
Think of Sweden and we inevitably think of IKEA and wrestling with flat-pack furniture. You can browse the flagship store near Stockholm – free buses from Regeringsgatan/Jakobsgatan in the centre depart every hour, Monday to Friday. Just try not to bring back too much Swedish design to fit in your backpack!
IKEA Kungens Kurva, Modulvägen 1
Very centrally located near the cool district of SoFo (Sodermalm), this new hostel in Stockholm was a great find. Beds here are very reasonable for the city and the whole place is stylish and modern. There are no bunkbeds - just spacious shared rooms with nice personal touches and comfy beds. The metro is a block away when you want to explore the rest of the city.
Ringvägen 135, Stockholm, 11661
On a recent trip I stayed at this hostel in Copenhagen and it was a great base for exploring the city, as well as one of the most affordable places to stay in this pricey city.
It’s in the perfect location right near Vesterbro, the hip quarter jammed with vintage clothes stores, trendy nightclubs and late-night bars – with an unbeatable view of the city from all the rooms as it's housed in one of Copenhagen’s few tall buildings.
There’s a bar and restaurant on the premises, and a kitchen which is helpful for budget travelers.
H.C. Andersens Boulevard 50, København V, Copenhagen
A number of the hotels surrounding Heathrow Airport offer good deals on car parking. This means that should you want to park your car at Heathrow - it can be a similar cost to get a night in the hotel and parking as just parking on its own! Contact the hotels directly for further deals and details.
Hotels surrounding Heathrow airport (and other airports around the country)
In the peak hours of arrival, the taxi queue at Paddington (connecting for the Heathrow Express) can be quite sizable. Don't forget that there is a taxi share service that runs from the station so you can get to where you are going and save money if you share a taxi. London is split into different zones and there should be an agent at the station to help you.
The number of hotels serving Canary Wharf has doubled in the past year with hotels available to suit all budgets.
Located in London's East End both the Travelodge (www.travelodge.co.uk) and Holiday Inn Express (www.holidayinn.co.uk) serve Canary Wharf via a complimentary 15 minute minibus route (usually morning and evenings only). Prices start from around GBP65 and therefore the hotels make a perfect stop for the budget-conscious traveller.
Advantages - cheap and cheerful. Typically relatively new and situated around the Excel exhibition centre so good for attendees to this and Canary Wharf
Disadvantages - Poorly connected to the City (taxi, bus or DLR are your only options) and not much to do in the evening.
Located across the river in Rotherhithe, the Hilton Docklands is not so much in the Docklands as overlooking. Access to the hotel is by free shuttle bus from the nearby Canada Water station (5 min bus ride). Access to Canary Wharf can be achieved via aforementioned shuttle service to the tube and then one stop on the Jubilee line to Canary Wharf or via the boat service which operated throughout the day from the hotel and stopping at the west side of Canary Wharf.
Advantages - Parking can be included in the room rate, prices start from around GBP90 a night. Can be particularly cheap for weekend breaks if you would like to extend your stay.
Disadvantages - Not well connected. Access via shuttle bus to tube or by boat.
Fed up with battling with the tube? Not wanting to switch at Paddington? Try the new service from National Express which provides a dedicated stopping service to central London and Canary Wharf. Prices from around £20 (various offers currently available online).
Thanks to John Brunton for his article on budget bistrots. I was so glad to see La Boulangerie on the little, not easy to find street as the number two in the area no one ever mentions, the great 20th arrondissement.
I do love La Boulangerie myself for its exciting food and wonderful atmosphere at remarkable prices. For as long as the bliss lasts - I fear it may get well-known.
Easiest to get to by bus 96 heading towards Porte des Lilas, get off at Julien Lecroix, walk downwards on that same side of the street and to your left is the little dwindling Rue des Panoyaux
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