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Dangerous. Corrupt. Overrun by drug lords. Who, in their right mind, would travel to one of these places?
The below five cities are unfairly recognized as some of the worst places in the world. Some suffer from decades-old reputations as murder capitals or corrupt drug states — perceptions that aren’t necessarily true anymore. Others have gotten bad press that, again, doesn’t necessarily reflect the situation on the ground for travelers. So while many Americans still fear and avoid them, we think they’re beautiful travel destinations.
And if you’re headed to any of these destinations soon, our advice is simple (and the same that we would give for any trip): Do your homework and stick to well-trafficked areas.
Stuck forever in the era of boat-sized convertibles, Elvis memorabilia, and red-checkered tablecloths, these American-themed diners offer a nostalgic ride into ‘50s Americana while satisfying rumbling tummies. Although commonplace throughout the fifty states, you don’t tend to come across these neon-lit, chrome-plated structures anywhere else in the world. So if you happen to be abroad and craving a burger and a milkshake, here are twelve diners around the world that’ll transport you back home.
Visit the full slideshow here.
Last month, a new project was announced that will build a covered walkway connecting Tijuana Airport to the U.S. border. According to the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and other sources, the walkway will result in major savings for travelers headed to Mexico, where it’s often cheaper to catch domestic flights within Mexico than to fly from the U.S..
Of course, the thought of cheaper flights to Mexico made our ears perk up. But we had to wonder: who will benefit from this? And how much can the walkway actually help you save? Sure, certain flights out of Tijuana may be cheaper than flying out of San Diego or Los Angeles, for example. But once you’ve factored in the extra time it takes to cross the border, and the possible differences in route options, will the savings outweigh the extra leg work? Though we can’t predict how things will change after the walkway opens in 2015, here’s an assessment of pricing right now… Read more
When it comes to traveling on a budget, you can’t really get more affordable – or more basic – than sleeping dorm-style in a bunk bed with a free breakfast. We’re talking, of course, about hostels – the cheap, stripped-down alternatives to hotels that are popular with backpackers and college students. But it’s not just young people who are welcome, says Generator Hostels chariman Carl Michel. Below, we’ve listed some reasons why travelers in their thirties, forties, and beyond might consider this ultra-budget-friendly way to stay: Read more
This winter, what better way to warm up than with a piping mug of hot chocolate? But don’t just reach for a packet of Swiss Miss. There are much richer, bolder, more decadent concoctions out there. Here are five delicious indulgences from around the world – and where to find them…
1. Mexico City:Mexican hot chocolate is an update of an ancient Aztec drink that includes chili, cinnamon, anise, and other spices. The beverage is water-based with just a splash of milk and a pinch of sugar, so you can enjoy the chocolate’s dark richness and subtle kick. For an unabashedly kitschy and fun experience, try the 24-hour Churreria el Moro, a hotspot also known for its churros in Mexico City. $5 for one hot chocolate and four churros.
We love Mexico City. In fact, we voted it one of our top destinations for 2014. But if you need a break from this teeming, culturally rich city, here are some incredibly inexpensive day trips to try, all of which are packed full of beautiful sites, from ancient ruins, to picturesque churches, to sprawling main squares… Read more
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. Singapore 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)
With the Millennial generation growing up, the travel industry is beginning to see a gap in the market for sophisticated young travelers on a budget. Budget-chic brands such as CitizenM and Marriott’s Moxy, which offer high design and low price points, are booming, while budget brands such as Radisson are undergoing a design-focused overhaul. The result is that the high-end experience is being redefined: luxurious is no longer synonymous with expensive. That’s good news for travelers of all generations; gone are the days when a low budget meant bland and basic accommodations - as the following worldwide hotels prove.
New York City: Playland Motel
Located way out in Rockaway Beach in Queens, the Playland Motel, which opened in summer 2013, restored a 19th -century building and engaged 12 artists and designers to curate each of the guest rooms. Each season, artists and designers will update the rooms’ designs according to their own aesthetic. Rooms currently available to book include Kate Pane’s Coconut Castle room, which the artist describes as “a hot and heavy girlhood frolic with glitter sunburns, ponies and wet swimsuits.”
The Playland Motel is also home to a popular bar, diner, and pizzeria. The scene is young and the music loud. Rooms (with shared bathrooms) go for around $160 a night.
New York City and Mexico City both teem with traffic, culture, amazing food, and beautiful architecture. But for the next year, these two metropolises will have more in common. The two cities recently announced their first-ever city-to-city partnership that includes a one-year agreement aimed at boosting tourism in both destinations. The best part? As part of the agreement, Aeromexico is offering $399 round-trip flights between the two cities, including flights on the 787 Dreamliner, through March. (Book by November 22.)
Even if you can’t take advantage of the special fare, you can enjoy some of the cities’ similarities just by visiting one or the other. Here are some related places that we love both in the Big Apple and south of the border…
In Mexico City: Downtown México
Downtown México is one of several Mexico City hotels that pare part of the design-savvy Grupo Habita. This one, in the heart of the city’s historic center, occupies one of the city’s few remaining 17th century palaces, and is just a short stroll from Zócalo, the main square. Habita’s typical contemporary design blends with original features such as high ceilings and a brick faςade. The hotel has two courtyard restaurants, as well as a rooftop bar and pool.
Every year, the hype surrounding Halloween seems to get bigger and bigger, but in many Mexican cultures, one of the season’s liveliest celebrations falls on November 1 and 2. Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, blends indigenous and Catholic influences, with the most traditional celebrations taking place in cemeteries in central Mexico. There, families gather at gravestones to honor deceased loved ones, but the tradition has become more popular in the U.S. as well, especially in places with thriving Latin American populations.
At the heart of the celebrations are ofrendas – altars or offerings of food, drink, and alcohol – which are believed to guide the spirits of the deceased back to Earth to spend time with their family and loved ones. Día de Los Muertos celebrations also include processions, musical performances, and tons of great, skeleton- and skull-inspired art – and, a refreshing break from the over-the-top commercialism of Halloween. What’s more, they’re almost always free, too. Here, five great places to get into the spirit of the Day of the Dead.
Note: There is a chance that there may be no Grito in the Zócalo in 2013 as teachers are currently occupying the square in protest of educational reform. Even so, there are plenty of other places in Mexico City to celebrate (such as in the Coyoacán neighborhood), and, indeed across the world.
If you find yourself in Mexico City in the second week of September, you’ll see the city at its most festive and patriotic. National flags hang from buildings; novelty costumes, hats and Pancho Villa-esque moustaches are on sale on almost every street corner, and bakery windows are stacked high with colorful patriotic cakes.
The reason for this display of national pride is that September 16th is Mexican Independence Day, which marks the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence. The day is celebrated with parades and festivals, and with food prepared in the color of the Mexican flag, such as chiles en nogada made up of green chili pepper, white walnut sauce, and red pomegranate seeds.
It is the night before, however, that you’ll experience the most inspiring tradition of the Fiestas Patrias (patriotic holidays): El Grito. Read more
Big cities make for great vacations. The culture and palpable energy is a large part of why so many people gravitate toward the world’s great cities and put up with, even embrace, the hustle and bustle. Sometimes, though, even the most committed city traveler feels the need to check out of the constant stream of activity in, say, London or New York, and that is when they head to the quiet calm of a city park. Read more
In further proof that the world has not, in fact, ended, Karisma Hotels & Resorts has unveiled its Jackson Family Wines Culinary Series, a brand-new offering for 2013. Held at the adults-only El Dorado Royale and El Dorado Casitas each month, the weeklong program will highlight a different chef and winemaker from the Northern California winery, who will work together to create wine and dine experiences such as tasting and cooking classes, beachside wine parties, and a multi-course winemaker dinner prepared in a thatched roof “culinary theater.”
Sounds like a perfect backdrop for a Valentine’s Day getaway – or a reason to toast a trip to Mexico any other time of year. Read more
With summer — and school break — just around the corner, it’s time to start planning a great getaway for the whole family. These money-saving deals are suitable for a group, whether you’re taking the kids to Orlando for some theme park hopping, planning your next family reunion on a cruise, or hiding out at a Caribbean resort where little ones stay free. We found those deals and more, good for travel throughout summer and fall, starting from just $87. Book soon to lock in the best savings.
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