Growing up, I was often promised a wonderful family vacation by my parents. Unfortunately for me, they were never great with saving money. This resulted in them getting creative and figuring out cheap alternatives to a family vacation. Now that I am an adult with a girlfriend and a child, I find myself using the same technique when my vacation budget fizzles away. In this article, I will give you some tips on what to do if you end up in the same situation. These ideas are based on my own personal experiences and may not be for everyone.
The go-to vacation alternative for my parents was the day trip. Instead of going away somewhere for a week, we instead took three day trips throughout the week. Going to the beach is always a good choice if you live close enough to the water and the weather is nice enough. An amusement park is another great way to spend the day having fun outdoors. If the weather is an issue there are fun things to do indoors as well. Museums and aquariums are lots of fun and your children will even learn some new things.
Bring the fun home
Usually, the main idea of a vacation is getting as far from home as possible. Sometimes this isn’t always a possibility. You can invite some people over for a party at your house. Allow your children to invite some of their friends over too and make it a fun and exciting time. Sometimes kids will be excited about the simplest things. Order a few pizzas and watch them have the time of their lives. Try to do something different at this get-together to make it special and memorable. Consider things like karaoke, magic tricks, a camp fire, or anything else you can think of.
Local hotel for a night
While these day time events will be fun, getting away from home for a night might be the closest thing to an actual vacation. Consider staying at a local hotel with a pool for the kids. There are usually a lot of things to do near hotels so having a fun one night mini-vacation will be easy. Get some dinner and ice cream or play some mini golf to get that vacation feeling flowing.
There are some magnificent cities in Europe that developed along great rivers. Since they developed before mechanized transportation, the river was the main way to get from one place to another. Since the river was the main route people traveled, buildings along the river were designed to appeal to people riding by in boats. It’s why great buildings in cities like Paris or Amsterdam were designed and built to be most appealing to people at river-level, not necessarily up close like modern streets may place them.
Here are four great river cities and tours that offer that unique, beautiful perspectives on them from the water:
Perhaps the most obvious water-oriented city is the amazing canal city of Venice, Italy. Of all the cities I list here, Venice is the one that still retains a water-only view, as there are no streets. The city is truly one of the most beautiful in the world and the beauty can easily enjoyed from the canals from any gondola. Find a gondolier who is a great tour guide and it’s a perfect combination. Artviva offers a good private Grand Canal tour from about $75 per person.
After Venice, Amsterdam in the Netherlands offers the most intact, historic city center, with canal-perspective views still available. Although tiny roads now exist next to the canals, the city can be explored and the beautiful buildings seen from the level for which they were designed. Try renting your own boat in the evening, we’ve used Boaty boat rentals, the cost is about $120 for four hours, with everything included.
Paris has both canals and a big river, the Seine. To cruise the Seine, there’s a hop-on / hop-off river boat that cruises a regular route passing all the great tourist destinations. The Batobus offers a one-day adult pass for $21. Like Amsterdam, this city is very beautiful at night and I recommend a nighttime cruise. The Paris Essential dinner cruise is a good option, window-side table seating is $94 per person, which includes dinner and wine. Cruises depart at 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. from right in front of the Eiffel Tower.
Another city, sometimes called the “Venice of the North”, St. Petersburg is slowly returning to the great, historic city it once was, after suffering under communism. This Russian city is known for the amazing Hermitage Museum, as well as some great architecture. Anglo Tourismo offers day and night river and canal tours, in English for independent travelers. Tours are around $25 per person.
Five cities in Europe perfect for foodies
What is a foodie? A foodie is a person that travels the world in search of delicious cuisine. They basically like to taste the world so to speak. It’s an expensive hobby to be a foodie, but you will be rewarded for your efforts. Knowing the best places to dine in Europe is a must for any food enthusiast. This is a guide for the top five cities in Europe for foodies, so eat your hearts out.
Copenhagen, Denmark: The Peder Oxe in Copenhagen, Denmark is an excellent place to go its very tourist friendly. With a menu in Danish or English they have something for everybody. The conversion rate is $1 = 5.14 Danish Kroner which roughly comes out to $33 a plate. The steak left me speechless served with fresh vegetables and a baked potato Copenhagen never tasted so good.
Rome, Italy: The love capitol of the world the 0, 75 restaurant is an elegant place to dine. They have happy hour for all you drinkers out there. Classic Italian cuisine a plate can go for $30-$70 and it’s worth every penny. The best thing about this restaurant is it’s within walking distance of the Kolbe Hotel.
Berlin, Germany: Barcomis is a wonderful place to take the kids. The pricing is perfect if you don’t want to spend too much money. Barcomis has an assortment of cakes, brownies, muffins, and pies. Barcomis is unique because it has a deli and bakery all in one.
Athens, Greece: Tiki Bar & Restaurant has an amazing atmosphere it reminds me of the jungle. This is a new establishment so the menu is limited to finger foods, drinks, and the Tiki burger. The Tiki Bar makes up for it with live music bands, and a tourist hotspot.
Holland, Amsterdam: Brasserie Vlaming is a hip little restaurant in Holland, Amsterdam. Brasserie offers international cuisine with plates starting at $30-$60. The location is easy to find and they also have a bar & grill if you prefer a more casual atmosphere.