Does it really get any better than dining in a 16th century castle?
Does it really get any better than dining in a 16th century castle?
Despite having some of the world’s best-known monuments, Egypt struggles to fill its abundant hotels. With less-than-wealthy locals far outnumbering the tourists, it’s easy to find a bargain meal or a guide or taxi driver. (They’ll find you whether you need them or not.) Admission prices for the ancient pyramids and temples are reasonable, generally ranging from $3 to $14.
Sample deals: a first-class train ticket from Cairo to Luxor for $17; a Nile-view deluxe double room in Luxor for $60 with breakfast; a private room by the sea in Dahab for under $20; entrance to the Nubia Museum in Aswan for $4; a falafel sandwich at a Cairo street stall for 40 cents. There’s no great independent travel site for the whole country but Egypt’s official tourism site is better than most.
Photo: Erik K Veland
This Southeast Asian nation is one of the most diverse and attractive destinations in the world, with a long string of volcanic islands and a range of topography and culture. It could also be the best value on the planet, with cheap hotels going for $5 a night, often right beside great snorkeling spots. Bali is the most developed island, but even there you can find plenty of deals. On Java, Sumatra, and Sulawesi, however, it’s easy to branch out like an intrepid explorer or get pampered on the cheap in the most popular spots.
Sample deals: a double room with pool and breakfast in Yogyakarta, Java for under $20; a five-day small ship cruise between Lombok and Flores islands via Komodo for $200 per person including meals; a first-class train seat from Jakarta to Yogyakarta for $25; an hour-long massage for $8-$15; a day’s motorbike rental on Bali for $10. Indo.com has a good listing of mid-range hotels in Bali and some other areas while the official Indonesia tourism site has travel info and enticing photos of the diverse islands.
Photo: Tim Leffel
In mid-2008, the peso was at 10 to the dollar. Now it’s close to 13. That’s a discount of more than 25 percent in a country that was already a deal. Plus Swine Flu followed by drug gang violence on the U.S. border has meant that travelers have tremendous bargaining power on hotels and tours. To find the best values, visit the historic colonial cities or beach areas where Americans don’t outnumber the locals. (As in places where there’s no Señor Frog’s in sight.)
Sample deals: a three-course lunch at a market stand for $4; nice hotels in centuries-old colonial buildings for under $75 double with breakfast and Wi-Fi; a round of Negra Modelos for five at nearly any bar, including gratis snacks, for $10; and some of the nicest deluxe buses in the hemisphere for $6 to $8 per hour of travel. It’s a big, diverse country, but here’s an extensive set of links and the best books on one page: Mexico travel resources from Travelers-tool-kit.com.
Photo: Tim Leffel
Few people knew anything about this country until it was all over the news last year when the president got forced out of office. You can find fabulous deals on scuba diving packages on Roatan Island. This Caribbean island sits next to the second-longest coral reef in the world, and every hotel seems to offer attractive package plans no matter the season. On the mainland you’ve got tropical national parks, the rugged Moskito Coast, and Copán, one of the key Mayan sites in the Americas and a great little colonial town.
Sample deals: $35 white-water rafting trips; weeklong learn-to-dive packages with room, breakfast, and transfers for under $600; a cold coconut with a straw for 40 cents; and admission to the Copán archeological park for $10. For more info, see the Honduras Tips site or Roatan Online, or see more travel prices in Honduras here.
Photo: Tim Leffel
This is only a shade farther to fly than Mexico, but it is a truly exotic destination. The descendants of the Mayans still dress in traditional clothing in the villages surrounding stunning Lake Atitlán. The Spanish colonial buildings in the city of Antigua are older than anything left standing in our historic city districts. The sprawling archeological park of Tikal is the granddaddy of Mayan ruins, and still surrounded by jungle.
Sample deals: taxis in Antigua for $4; great hotels with a view on Lake Atitlán for $60 a night; a week of private Spanish lessons including homestay starting at $180; a zipline canopy tour near Tikal for $30; three pounds of bananas or avocados for a dollar. La Ruta Maya Online is the best resource for hotels, tours, and Spanish language schools.
Photo: Tim Leffel
Machu Picchu alone is worth the journey, but it’s just the start in this value-packed country. Inca ruins are scattered all around the Sacred Valley, and Cuzco is one of the most attractive cities in South America. There is also hiking in the Andes, admiring colonial architecture on the streets of Arequipa, trips through the Amazon, boating across the highest lake in the world, and flying over the strange Nazca lines.
Sample deals: Bus from Arequipa to Colca Canyon – $6; a big traditional lunch and a beer for $7; simple restaurant meal in the countryside $6 for two; entrance to the Inca Museum in Cuzco for $1.50; cheap single room or hostel bed $4-$10; airport taxi in Cusco $4. Andean Travel Web is an exhaustive resource site for trekking info, hotels that are a good value, and general travel info.
As with Honduras and Mexico, visitor numbers plunged when Bangkok was all over the news recently, so there are plenty of deals on airfare, tours, and hotels. This is a popular destination for travelers of all budget levels. Thailand continues to be one of the best bargains in the world in terms of hotel prices, and with a well-developed infrastructure, it’s easy to get around and see what you want to see, be it historic ruins, Buddhist temples, or tropical beaches.
Sample deals: a standard double at a true 5-star hotel in Bangkok for $250 or less per night—or a cheap place to flop down and sleep for 1/20th of that price; admission to the main ruins in Sukothai for under $2; a first-class round-trip sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai for about $40; a Skytrain ticket across Bangkok for about $1.30. The hands-down best travel resource for Thailand is Travelfish.org. They also put out some great iPhone/iPad apps on specific regions and islands.
Photo: Tim Leffel
In much of Europe, prices in the big cities are often double what you find in the countryside. This is especially true in Eastern European countries like the Czech Republic, where vacationers on quick weekend breaks have driven up hotel and restaurant prices in Prague. In the smaller towns and cities, however, the country is one of Europe’s remaining great values. Castles on hill crests, some of the world’s best beer for a dollar or so in a pub, and winding cobblestone streets without crowds—Ye Olde Europe without the new Europe prices.
Sample deals: a room at the best hotel in town across Moravia for under $100 with breakfast; fully equipped hybrid bike rental for $25 a day; sommelier guided 12-bottle tasting at the Wine Salon of the Czech Republic in Valtice for $19; a train ticket from Prague to anywhere in the country for $12 or less. The official Czech Tourism site is excellent while MyCzechRepublic has good general info on different regions plus a message board. See more Czech prices outside Prague here.
The tinted peaks were fashioned by uplift from the Earth’s tectonic plates – the same ones that formed parts of the Himalayan range – while rain, wind and erosion shaped them into the jagged world seen today. Located around the city of Zhangye, the area covers more than 10sqkm and the vista is most dazzling after a rainfall, when the colours glow even brighter than usual. (Melinda Chan/Getty)
Every year in late spring, Australia’s Christmas Island becomes covered in crabs when the more than 40 million red crustaceans that call the northwest island territory home start their annual migration to the sea, covering the landscape in a mass of crimson claws.
The migration starts with the first heavy rains in October, November or December. At that point, there’s enough moisture in the air for the large crustaceans, which can reach up to 11cm across, to make the arduous, five-day journey from their homes in wet inland forests to the Indian Ocean, covering up to 9km along the way.
With so many of the creatures on the move, Parks Australia works before and during the migration to protect the crustaceans by closing roads, building fences and constructing underground tunnels. Drivers are encouraged to stop for the crabs.
Upon reaching the sand, the male crabs dig burrows and fight each other for ownership of the shelters. When the female crabs arrive (usually five to seven days after the first males), they begin to mate, and the females stay in their beachside burrows until the last quarter of the lunar cycle. The females always wait for the first day of the last quarter – regardless of when they started the migration – to spawn and release their eggs into the sea. Researchers speculate that since this phase of the moon has the least sea level change between high and low tides, the eggs have higher chances of survival.
This year, the possible spawning dates (and dates of the quarter moon) are 28 November or 28 December, so the initial migration will happen seven to 18 days before, depending on the weather. The crabs tend to be on the move in the morning and early evening when the air is cooler, but any dry spells will halt the migration until wetter weather prevails.
Just released……. Pick up a copy of Wine Spectator magazine TODAY before they run out! The most anticipated list in the wine world!
The tables to the right can be read as follows: Vintage Wine Spectator Score Retail Price
ENJOY FELLOW WINOS!
|1||Cune Rioja Imperial Gran Reserva||2004||95||$63|
|2||Château Canon-La Gaffelière St.-Emilion||2010||96||$103|
|3||Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Evenstad Reserve||2010||95||$65|
|4||Hewitt Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford||2010||95||$92|
|5||Kongsgaard Chardonnay Napa Valley||2010||95||$75|
|6||Giuseppe Mascarello & Figlio Barolo Monprivato||2008||95||$110|
|7||Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée||2010||97||$120|
|8||Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape||2010||96||$120|
|9||Lewis Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve||2010||96||$135|
|10||Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley||2010||95||$135|
|11||Reynvaan Syrah Walla Walla Valley Stonessence||2010||98||$70|
|12||Turley Zinfandel Paso Robles Dusi Vineyard||2011||95||$42|
|13||Croft Vintage Port||2011||97||$93|
|14||Bedrock The Bedrock Heritage Sonoma Valley||2011||95||$37|
|15||Olivier Ravoire Gigondas||2011||94||$33|
|16||G.D. Vajra Barolo Albe||2008||94||$42|
|17||Alexana Pinot Noir Dundee Hills Revana Vineyard||2010||94||$42|
|18||Poggerino Chianti Classico||2010||93||$25|
|19||Hamilton Russell Chardonnay Hemel-en-Aarde Valley||2012||93||$33|
|20||Chateau Dereszla Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos||2007||95||$40|
|21||Le Macchiole Bolgheri||2011||93||$30|
|22||La Rioja Alta Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva||2004||94||$35|
|23||Seghesio Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Cortina||2010||94||$38|
|24||Livio Sassetti Brunello di Montalcino Pertimali||2008||94||$55|
|25||Epoch Estate Blend Paderewski Vineyard Paso Robles||2010||93||$40|
|26||Álvaro Palacios Priorat Les Terrasses Velles Vinyes||2011||93||$40|
|27||Spring Valley Uriah Walla Walla Valley||2010||94||$50|
|28||Domaine de l’A Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux||2010||93||$34|
|29||R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Rioja White Viña Gravonia Crianza||2003||93||$36|
|30||Lagier Meredith Syrah Mount Veeder||2010||94||$48|
|31||Patz & Hall Pinot Noir Carneros Hyde Vineyard||2010||95||$65|
|32||Bodegas Hidalgo Gitana Manzanilla Jerez La Gitana||NV||91||$19|
|33||Ravines Riesling Finger Lakes Dry||2012||91||$17|
|34||Bodegas Valdemar Rioja Inspiración Selección||2010||91||$20|
|35||Château du Retout Haut-Médoc||2010||91||$18|
|36||Bodega Norton Malbec Mendoza Reserva||2011||92||$20|
|37||Quinta do Passadouro Douro||2010||91||$25|
|38||Mollydooker Two Left Feet McLaren Vale||2011||92||$25|
|39||Viña Herminia Rioja Excelsus||2009||93||$18|
|40||Château de Haute-Serre Malbec Cahors White Label||2010||92||$24|
|41||Red Heads Studio Shiraz McLaren Vale Barrel Monkeys||2011||91||$20|
|42||Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Uco Valley Reserve||2011||91||$24|
|43||Godelia Godello Bierzo Selección||2010||91||$14|
|44||Viña Koyle Carmenère Colchagua Valley Royale||2010||91||$26|
|45||Château Doisy Daëne Barsac||2010||94||$58|
|46||Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley Reserve||2010||94||$60|
|47||Viña Santa Rita Triple C Maipo Valley||2008||93||$40|
|48||Greywacke Pinot Noir Marlborough||2011||93||$39|
|49||Failla Chardonnay Sonoma Coast||2011||92||$34|
|50||COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico||2010||92||$35|
|51||Charles Smith Riesling Columbia Valley Kung Fu Girl Evergreen||2012||90||$12|
|52||Paringa Shiraz South Australia||2010||90||$11|
|53||Domäne Wachau Riesling Federspiel Trocken Wachau Terrassen||2011||90||$13|
|54||Honig Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley||2010||93||$45|
|55||A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir Oregon||2011||90||$18|
|56||Robert Eymael (Mönchhof) Riesling QbA Mosel||2011||90||$17|
|57||L’Ecole No. 41 Syrah Columbia Valley||2010||91||$25|
|58||Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano||2010||91||$29|
|59||Donum Pinot Noir Carneros||2010||95||$72|
|60||Astrolabe Pinot Noir Marlborough Province||2010||92||$28|
|61||Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco||2007||92||$38|
|62||Concha y Toro Syrah Buin Marqués de Casa Concha||2010||91||$22|
|63||Hourglass Merlot Napa Valley Blueline Vineyard||2010||94||$75|
|64||Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley Rockaway Single Vineyard||2010||94||$75|
|65||Joh. Jos. Prüm Riesling Spätlese Mosel Graacher Himmelreich||2011||93||$42|
|66||Macarico Aglianico del Vulture Macari’||2007||92||$25|
|67||Natacha Chave Crozes-Hermitage Aléofane||2010||92||$35|
|68||Chateau Ste. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc Horse Heaven Hills Horse Heaven Vineyard||2012||90||$15|
|70||Marcassin Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Marcassin Vineyard||2007||96||$125|
|71||Ashbourne Sandstone Hemel-en-Aarde Valley||2008||93||$25|
|72||Shafer Relentless Napa Valley||2010||95||$72|
|73||Achával-Ferrer Malbec Mendoza Finca Mirador||2011||96||$125|
|74||Lucia Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Garys’ Vineyard||2011||93||$55|
|75||Domaine Overnoy-Crinquand Arbois Pupillin Vieilles Vignes||2009||93||$49|
|76||M. Lapierre Morgon||2011||91||$30|
|77||Dehlinger Syrah Russian River Valley Goldridge||2010||92||$40|
|78||J.J. Vincent & Fils Pouilly-Fuissé Marie-Antoinette||2011||90||$25|
|79||Ken Wright Pinot Noir Yamhill-Carlton District Savoya Vineyard||2010||93||$55|
|80||Querciabella Maremma Toscana Mongrana||2010||90||$22|
|81||Quinta do Crasto Douro Reserva Old Vines||2010||93||$47|
|82||Mamete Prevostini Valtellina Superiore Sassella||2009||91||$30|
|83||Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Special Selection||2010||96||$130|
|84||Jolie-Pitt & Perrin Côtes de Provence Rosé Miraval||2012||90||$28|
|85||Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra Black Label||2010||91||$35|
|86||Fontanafredda Barolo La Rosa||2008||95||$96|
|87||Graham Tawny Port 20 Year Old||NV||93||$60|
|88||Pierre Paillard Brut Champagne||NV||92||$48|
|89||Raymond Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Generations||2009||95||$100|
|90||Carlisle Zinfandel Napa Valley Hayne Vineyard||2011||93||$48|
|91||Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Riserva||2006||94||$75|
|92||Château Larcis Ducasse St.-Emilion||2010||94||$90|
|93||A.A. Badenhorst Family Swartland||2009||92||$42|
|94||Schiavenza Barolo Prapò||2009||94||$60|
|95||Bodegas Alto Moncayo Garnacha Campo de Borja||2010||92||$45|
|96||Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli||2008||95||$120|
|97||Louis Roederer Brut Champagne||2006||94||$78|
|98||Château d’Yquem Bordeaux White Y||2011||94||$150|
|99||Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey St.-Aubin La Chatenière||2011||92||$48|
|100||Badia a Coltibuono Toscana Cancelli||2011||90||$10|
The primary goal of packing well is to fit everything you want to take in your bag, and have it emerge at your destination looking good. First, set aside the clothes you’ll wear on the plane—whenever possible, wear the heaviest and bulkiest pieces to save room in your bag. Open a suitcase you think will fit everything you need for your trip. Flip up any compression straps (these will be used in Step #10).
Bonus tips: If, despite your best efforts, you unpack your bag at your destination and discover some unsightly wrinkles, don’t fret. Simply turn on the shower, set the water to hot, hang the item nearby, and watch as the steam makes the wrinkles disappear.
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