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Toronto

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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You know you can ask the concierge to arrange a jeep tour or recommend a local restaurant. But did you know they’ll also hunt down the perfect souvenir or replace those dress slacks you forgot to pack while you lounge by the pool?

Most concierges want to do whatever it takes to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. The best part is that the concierge’s time and expertise is usually complimentary, though you’ll of course be charged for items and services purchased on your behalf. Gratuities aren’t mandatory but are always appreciated (a simple thank you in person or a sincere email when you return home go a long way, too).

Here, some surprising requests that you can ask of your concierge:

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The movies we watch, the toys we play with, the fun foods we eat — these elements of every day life and entertainment define every society’s culture. To celebrate the American way of life this summer, take a day trip to one of these seven pop culture museums worth the drive.

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toronto-istock 620x400Summer is a great time to visit our neighbor to the North, thanks to an abundance of festivals and excellent weather. You can jet to Toronto to discover the city’s vibrant food scene, visit Montreal or Quebec City for their Old World charm, or cool down in Mont Tremblant‘s fresh mountain air. The trouble is, summer airfare to Canada tends to skyrocket in the summer months.

We recently discovered this summer airfare sale from 4-star Porter Airlines, however, which makes it makes it pretty easy and affordable to get there. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy their exclusive airport lounges and free snacks onboard.

Sample fares from New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Chicago include:

  • Toronto… from $86 each way
  • Quebec City… from $127 each way
  • Montreal… from $127 each way
  • Mont Tremblant… from $146 each way
  • Ottawa… from $127 each way

Click here to book on the Porter website. The sale ends on June 16. Travel is valid on select dates now through November 5.

IMG_5788It was 1970, the summer after the Christopher Street Liberation Riots, that New York City held its first Gay Pride March in June. Since then, the LGBT community has been uniting worldwide to celebrate equality and diversity, and cities big and small are taking to the streets to encourage tolerance and equal rights. Hopeful messages aside, these festivities provide dynamic travel opportunities for travelers interested in exploring a destination’s gay culture and simply have fun, whether they’re ready to jump into the parade route or cheer from sidelines. Here, three celebrations to consider for your itinerary:

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It’s March and music festival season is upon us: thousands are gathering in Austin this week for SXSW, and the upcoming Bonnaroo-Lollapalooza-Coachella trifecta continue to sell-out at record speeds. Understandably, though, spending $300 to camp with a crowd of sweaty students just to catch a glimpse of Tom Petty’s wavy mane over a hot June weekend doesn’t appeal to everyone. Instead of splurging on just any old music festival this summer, consider these low-key alternatives that offer the same great entertainment at nearly a third of the cost: Read more

Rarotonga, The Cook IslandsAt the end of 2013, we chose the best budget destinations for 2014. Now, while everyone’s starting to make plans for the spring and beyond, we wanted to serve up some deals that make good on those predictions. Ready to jet? Read more

NiagaraFallsThe Canadian province of Ontario is home to some of North America’s most popular travel destinations, including cosmopolitan Toronto, the nation’s capital, Ottawa, and the majestic Niagara Falls. And while it may seem counter intuitive, winter is actually a great time to visit this versatile state.

Here’s why…

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These days, cost-conscious travelers have more options than ever. The question is no longer “Where will we go?” but “How cheap can we get there?” Rest assured, we’re here to tell you the answer: pretty cheap! As evidence, we’ve compiled a list of the ten most budget-friendly travel destinations to watch out for in 2014. These places show it’s totally possible to plan an unforgettable trip to a unique, accessible, and culturally interesting destination, and still feel like you’re getting a deal. Trying to fit all these fabulous trips into a single year? Well, that’s another question…

1. SingaporeSingapore It’s telling that Singapore Airlines spent the better part of this fall introducing over two dozen brand new 777-300ER planes into its fleet. The national carrier, consistently recognized as one of the top airlines in the world, is simply catering to demand as more and more visitors flock to this verdant Southeast Asian hub. Scores of new hotels are opening all over the city – many of them artfully designed and, best of all, reasonably priced. But it’s not just affordable lodging that keep travelers coming back. The city’s treasure trove of cheap hawker centers (food stalls), diverse ethnic neighborhoods, and abundant green spaces (Gardens by the Bay, for one) show why it’s becoming one of the region’s most accessible, yet endlessly entertaining modern metropolises. (See also: Off The Beaten Path In Singapore)

Amazing Canadian Train RoutesCanada features more than 3.8 million square miles of diverse landscapes ranging from rolling prairies to pristine glacial lakes. One of the best ways to explore the country is by train. Hop on board one of these lines for the rail adventure of a lifetime.

Rocky Mountain Routes: The Canadian Rocky Mountains serve as the backdrops for several incredible railway trips, including the incredibly popular Vancouver-to-Banff route offered by Rocky Mountaineer. Passengers travel by day, spend the night at a hotel in Kamloops and continue the two-day journey the next morning. Opt for the GoldLeaf package, which entitles you to watch the scenery from the glass-domed upper level and dine in an exclusive dining room in the lower level. Rates for the Vancouver-to-Banff experience begin at $935.

VIA Rail also provides service from Edmonton to Jasper. The scenery can be a little ho-hum as you head south, but once you hit the Rocky Mountains, you’ll “ooh and aah” the rest of the way. One-way travel on VIA from Edmonton to Jasper begins at $110. Read more

Blue Flag: How Clean is That BeachYou’ve saved your money, packed your bags and are ready to embark on a new adventure. Through all the planning, the same image came to mind: the perfect beach. Whether rocky, sandy, tropical, or wild, beaches conjure up images of vacation and relaxation. But how do you know if your perfect beach is clean? Read more

What to do in TorontoChefs are flocking, new hotels are opening, and the film festival is rapidly growing: The city of Toronto now has more reasons to visit than ever. Find out what to see, do, eat, and drink while in this booming Canadian city! Read more

Amtrak trainWinter time can prove to be an even bigger headache than usual for air travel. Blustering winds and pesky snowstorms regularly clog major air-hubs from New York City to Chicago (and everywhere in between), causing frustrating flight delays and cancellations. Spare yourself the stress of lengthy, invasive security procedures, and unreliable service by taking the train for your next getaway.

Fares for many of North America’s regional train lines are available for less this season. Here’s some of our favorite deals on rails.

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toronto-tasty-treats-2A few weeks ago, I discovered that the people of Toronto are unrelentingly polite and tidy, which didn’t really confound my expectations. But would I also describe Torontonians as succulent, spicy, sexy, sublime, and stupendous? Well sure, some of them, but those words more easily describe the city’s street food.

With limited time and stomach capacity, I took what is admittedly a snapshot of Toronto’s rapidly emerging casual dining scene. However, should you find yourself grazing Toronto on a tight schedule – and tight budget – here are seven snacks you really don’t want to miss.

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scariest Halloween attractionsToday’s breed of Halloween-themed attractions grows more terrifying every year, making the haunted hayrides of bygone eras look like tea parties in comparison. This year is no exception, as many venues have upped the fright factor with freaky new themes (bloodthirsty humanoid centipedes, anyone?), mazes designed for solo exploration, and more serial killer clowns than you can shake a scythe at.

Nobody seems scared off; in fact, brave souls are flocking to these Halloween attractions in such high numbers that many parks have added a fast-pass ticketing option that allows visitors to bypass the lines. Here are our picks for the scariest Halloween attractions in 2012. Check them out – if you dare. Read more

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