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
Massive electronic music festival at the beginning of July each year which transforms Amsterdam into a hub of dancing and revelry! 50 Euros for a ticket is a steal, with loads of concerts and experimental films, electronic music videos and art installation all available over five days.
This year’s highlights were Justice and Erol Alkan. Awesome performances!
Around the city
This Amsterdam hostel was very friendly and fun, with some very cheap pints in its ‘Uptown Bar.’
It’s among some lively coffeeshops and bars or is just a few hundred metres from the Van Gogh and Modern Art Museums for something more cultural!
Accommodation is cheap and includes breakfast and internet.
Vossiussstraat 46-47, Amsterdam, 1071AJ
You can save some money by booking your flights and hotels via cashback website www.quidco.com.
Here you can get the referral commission advertisers normally get for referrals. Flights typically receive 1% cash back from well-recognised sites such as expedia.co.uk and ebookers.co.uk or virginatlantic.com.
Hotels also get higher returns giving as much as 10% cash back for agencies such as hotels.com and expedia.co.uk. The only thing to caution about is that hotels will be prepaid and may not have the same flexibility (a cancellation charge may apply) when compared to booking directly.
Hong Kong's banking industry is dominated by HSBC. As such, you can get some great discounts at stores in Hong Kong if you have an HSBC credit card. The stores don't usually care which country it's issued in, just keep an eye out for the discount sign at the cashier desk.
Stores across Hong Kong
I can highly recommend a day trip to Macau, another SAR (Special Administrative Region), for the gambling and the architecture. There's a regular ferry service that will take you on the 45 mile trip (the threat of pirates in the area will give you something to look out for along the way). Alternatively, wait until 2010 and you can get there via an 18 mile long bridge that has just been commissioned by Beijing. When I was there, I used Macau as my departure airport to go to Thailand as it was cheaper than flying from Hong Kong.
It's a bus pass valid for 10 rides on the city buses and costs 6.20€ (June 2008). Worthwhile if you are there for more than a couple of days, as individual trips cost 93 centimos. Each (person's) journey is validated on a machine upon boarding and you are permitted to share it with your friends/families.
Not so easy! At newsagents that display the sign "hay bonobus aqui". And definitely at the café in the Terminal Bus Comes near Plaza de España.
Cushchine Cottage is a small, family-friendly, beautiful, self-catering rental set within an animal farm park. It's ideal as a base for all of Kaikoura's attractions (about a mile from the town centre) and includes free access to the Farm Park, and you can help out with their early morning feeding.
The cottage has two bedrooms (sleeps up to seven), an equipped kitchen, lounge with wood burner, sofas and TV, free use of a gas barbecue and fabulous views of Mt Fyffe. Towels and bedding are included, and it only costs $100-180 a night (depends on numbers and time of year).
We spent two nights in a more expensive motel, before staying an extra night in the rental cottage. We enjoyed it so much, we chose cottages for the rest of our NZ trip!
Ask them about a lovely walk to a nearby river, less than a mile away, with two huge natural swimming pools - it's a local secret!
12 Kowhai Ford Road (about 1 mile from Kaikoura town centre)
03 319 5033
A superb family-oriented farm park run by a lovely english couple. They've a wide range of farm animals (wallabies, llamas, ponies, lambs, donkeys, rabbits, ducks, horses, peacocks, chickens and chicks, guinea pigs, chinchillas... the list is practically endless!).
The aminals are super-friendly, and come right up to you. They offer free pony cart rides, and you can help bottle feed their younger animals. It's a cute, small, personal kind of place, with magnificent views of snow-topped Mt Fyffe.
We ended up there when our Whale Watch trip was cancelled and, to be honest, our kids are still talking about it, and have long forgotten the whale trip which they didn't appreciate at all (amazing when you consider the whale trip was about ten times the price!). It's not as 'flash' as another park we visited in the UK, but the hands on experience was truly memorable, and became one of the highlights of our NZ holiday. They've also got a small beautiful self-catering rental cottage - we loved the place so much, we stayed an extra night in their cottage and benefited from free access to early morning feeding and free farm park entry. The kids loved it - shame we didn't know about it before we arrived.
12 Kowhai Ford Road (about 1 mile from Kaikoura town centre and railway station)
03 319 5033
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