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Australia

Flickr Steve Montgomery National Gallery London 2

As tourism destinations, many major cities across the globe — New York and Paris, Stockholm and Sydney — are certainly monumental or historical or beautiful or all of the above. What they often aren’t, however, is cheap. The good news is that if you’ve got your mind set on visiting any of these metropolises, you can often find free activities to enjoy when you’re there. We’ve built a list of museums, cultural events, and even transportation that won’t cost you a thing in 10 notoriously pricey locales.

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BaseCamp Young Hostel Bonn - 620

Why sleep in a concrete-and-glass building when you can stay in a vintage trailer, a Boeing 747, or even in a wine barrel? These quirky hotel concepts are totally refreshing — and they give obsolete spaces a sustainable second life.

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Curtis Stone

Once upon a time, Australian Chef Curtis Stone had a misconception about American food.

“Before I moved to the States, when I thought of American food, my mind turned to comfort food: potpies, fried chicken, barbecue,” says Curtis. “But, the truth is, America is so geographically big and can’t be generalized as a whole – it’s full of little cultures.”

Aside from discovering L.A.’s incredible Mexican food, since his pilgrimage to America, Curtis met the love of his life Lindsay Price. The two live in L.A., but Curtis makes trips to his homeland quite often, and the cute couple travels together, too.

Read on for our exclusive chat with the studly chef.

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You won’t find too many Americans in Australia’s Northern Territory, and there’s a good reasons for it. Considering the high cost of air travel and the time that it takes to get there, most travelers are content on staying in Sydney or one of the country’s other southern cities. If they do venture out, it’s typically up the east coast to Queensland, one of the most popular launching pads for the Great Barrier Reef.

But the draw is that the area is very remote, putting visitors in the prime position to see the stunning formations of Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta — known collectively as Uluru. Australia is 70 percent desert, after all, with Central Australia and the southern half of the Northern Territory receiving less than 10 inches of rain per year.

Unfortunately, Uluru’s remoteness and adventure-oriented atmosphere don’t make for the cheapest trip. In fact, it’s the most expensive destination in Australia and the third-most expensive in the world. The reason for this is largely due to the fact that the Ayers Rock Resort — which really consists of four hotels — has a monopoly on all the rooms, restaurants, and shops in the area. As a result, rates start at 340 AUD (297 USD) a night even at the cheapest property, the Outback Pioneer. Yikes.

So what to do? Here are a few tips to make the trip more affordable.

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iStock/SydneyYou may have dreams of visiting Sydney, the Australian city that’s home to the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge, but if you’ve done even a little bit of research, you know that this is one of the most expensive places to visit in the world for U.S. travelers. Factor in flights (think $1500-$2500) and the costs can be prohibitively high. But you can keep to a budget if you know where to go, and where to cut costs. For example, don’t be afraid to splurge on once-in-a-lifetime experiences like the Bridge Climb, but save on eating out and other activities. Here are some more suggestions…

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IslandsintheSunCousteau

Ready to book your bucket list getaway? Try this one on for size:

Explorer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, eldest son of Jacques Cousteau, is encouraging North American families to follow in his footsteps and explore the Great Barrier Reef. Through a partnership between Stella Travel Services and Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society, travelers can choose from a selection of Cousteau-endorsed itineraries featuring scenic flights over the Great Barrier Reef, diving expeditions, rainforest visits, and cultural experiences.

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Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, and many others countries speak the English language. But sometimes talking with the locals there can feel as foreign to U.S. travelers as communicating with those in, say, Thailand. To help clear these up, here are a few words that our stateside readers are all familiar with — but that mean something completely different in other English-speaking places around the world.

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LadoniaNimisWhether established as a joke, to make a political point, or purely by accident, these 10 micronations across the world show that, if you don’t like your own country, you can just go ahead and start your own. Of course, like all of the ones we’ve listed, yours might never be recognized as a real nation, but you may not mind.

Visit our slideshow to learn about the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands, The Empire of Atlantium, a dictatorial banana-republic in Nevada, and more.

mushroom - flickr - furtwangl - 620Foraging is a culinary trend that isn’t going away, and it’s only getting bigger in travel. Many credit the movement to chef René Redzepi of Noma, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Copenhagen that frequently tops “Best in the World” restaurant lists. And it makes sense, especially at a time when travelers are seeking local and immersive experiences, the appeal of foraging for your own food is clear. It’s a fresh way to connect with a destination; it’s wonderfully tactile; and it’s a reminder of the wonders that nature has to offer.

These days, foraging in travel goes beyond reserving tables at a restaurant with an adventurous chef. More and more foraging tours and excursions have popped up in many locales. Here, we’ve rounded up some ideas and destinations to get you started. Just keep in mind that there are dangers in gathering your own food – including risk of illness if you eat the wrong thing – and the issue of sustainability in the harvesting process. That’s why we suggest that you always connect with a local expert or company that specializes in foraging; you’ll also want to know the local regulations and best practices. Read more

BratanAs views go, lakes provide a backdrop that is at once soothing and full of mystery. Unlike oceans, these mighty bodies of water are contained. You can row across their surface, dive for shipwrecks, or simply go bird-watching, all in the safe knowledge that land is never too far away. More than anything, lakes can provide a refreshing change of scenery from days spent shopping in town or hiking in the surrounding mountains.

Here are a few lakefront views worth traveling for.

If you’ve ever dreamed of splashing around with dolphins, Flipper-style, singing with crabs like a certain redheaded mermaid, or simply like the sound of “sleeping with the fishes,” then here are eight epic hotels that bring you as close to the deep blue as you’ll ever get.

Pemba Island, Zanzibar

the manta resort 1

What if you could book your own, private island? Well… you can, kinda. Essentially a three-story, private, floating island in the midst of the Zanzibar archipelago, The Manta Resort (from $900 per night) features everything from a perfect sunbathing deck, open-ocean swimming, and a bedroom submerged 13 feet below the ocean.

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AdelaideTwo hours by plane from Sydney (and one and a half from Melbourne), Adelaide is generally known as a quieter, more rustic alternative to Australia’s bustling metropolises. Set along the gentle River Torrens, Adelaide has fashioned itself into something of a sports capital (its main cricket and football stadium, Adelaide Oval, recently completed a $535 million renovation), but it’s not just cricket fans who are showing up to enjoy Adelaide’s bucolic charm. Adelaide Hills and Cleland Wildlife Park – two of the city’s most popular and accessible public parks – showcase a wide range of native Australian wildlife, making Adelaide perfect for nature-lovers. Plus, the city is incredibly easy to navigate. A bus and tram (both free) help visitors get around the city center, while a basic grid system allows visitors to explore without worrying about getting lost.

In short, whether it’s adventure, cricket, or a quiet afternoon at the beach that you’re after, Adelaide hits all the marks, and, even better, you won’t spend a fortune while you’re there. Here are five places worth checking out: Read more

melbourne-Chris-Phutully-620Australia in general isn’t known for being cheap, and Melbourne specifically – touted as the world’s most livable city and the capital of the country’s most densely populated state – can be quite expensive. But it doesn’t always have to be, so long as you know the right places to go and how to get there. Here are five tips for enjoying the best of the city without spending a fortune: Read more

We all know that there’s something irresistible about a waddling penguin. But who knew that some species are facing extinction due to the changing climate and to commercial fishing practices? In honor of Penguin Awareness Day, we’ve rounded up three great spots that not only offer spectacular views of penguins, but also offer unique educational opportunities and do important preservation work.

Isla Martillo (Tierra del Fuego, Argentina)

Isla martillo penguins, ArgentinaFor the ultimate up-close-and-personal encounter, visit the Magellenic penguins of Argentina’s Isla Marillo; they’re extremely friendly. They make up the bulk of the 10,000 penguins who nest on the island from October through early April…

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RarotongaReady to spend some of your holiday money? If you’re looking to get some overseas R&R, two airlines just announced sales, right in time for the New Year.

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