Budget Travel Intentions » Europe http://budgettravelintentions.net Budget Travel Ideas for the Penny Pinching Traveler Tue, 17 Dec 2013 22:28:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8 Stay in an Ice or Snow Hotel in Lapland http://budgettravelintentions.net/stay-in-an-ice-or-snow-hotel-in-lapland/ http://budgettravelintentions.net/stay-in-an-ice-or-snow-hotel-in-lapland/#comments Sat, 16 Nov 2013 19:40:42 +0000 http://budgettravelintentions.net/?p=900 Ice hotels are not mere options for accommodation in touristy places, they are complete destinations, especially for those visiting Lapland. If you stay in an ice or snow hotel in Lapland, you wake up to the diffused light of fiber optics at dawn. You are surrounded with ice – some that is present in the [...]

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Ice hotels are not mere options for accommodation in touristy places, they are complete destinations, especially for those visiting Lapland. If you stay in an ice or snow hotel in Lapland, you wake up to the diffused light of fiber optics at dawn. You are surrounded with ice – some that is present in the intricate designs of furniture and surrounding sculptures and some that is present in the massiveness of solid blocks comprising the walls, ceilings and floors. True that the room you stay in will have a consistent temperature of 23 or even 17 degrees Fahrenheit, true that you will be resting in sleeping bags placed on ice slabs draped in reindeer skin but that is not all. At an ice hotel, you will have the privilege of using everything you need and all of it will be made from ice and snow.

To put it simply, even though ice hotels look rather extravagant and lavish, they basically function like oversized igloos. While solid blocks of ice are used to create the exteriors of these formidable, larger-than-life structures, intricately designed, petite pieces are used to create the interiors. Colourful lighting inside ice hotels transforms a frigid arctic dwelling into a palace where everything glitters, and this is bound to make your stay magical. The ice bar, ice chapel, ice utensils and ice furniture that you have access to inside an ice hotel, will offer you a feel that no other kind of accommodation in Lapland can match. TheWhiteCircle.com, in particular, has a wealth of amazing igloo-like options.

Most ice hotels in Lapland are situated near rivers where workers draw water, freeze the water into ice, cut the ice into large blocks before trucking them into place. Extensively built ice hotels that have a large capacity require approximately five to six weeks for construction. As spring approaches around April, all this work melts away and the hoteliers have to wait till September to start reconstruction.

Even though earlier, ice hotels intended to cater to only those tourists who took a keen interest in novelties and unusual environments, today they have acquired the status of destination hotels, and they have done so in their own right. Travelers no longer want to stay in lodgings close to tourist attractions; they want to be in the midst of it all. People who have already had the privilege of staying at an ice hotel often describe the experience as exhilarating. So if you plan to visit Lapland for your next vacation, make sure to stay at an ice or snow hotel.

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The 5 Best Historical Attractions In the South of France http://budgettravelintentions.net/the-5-best-historical-attractions-in-the-south-of-france/ http://budgettravelintentions.net/the-5-best-historical-attractions-in-the-south-of-france/#comments Sat, 02 Nov 2013 02:18:10 +0000 http://budgettravelintentions.net/?p=892 The South of France, often known as le Midi, covers an extensive amount of geography. For this reason and more, the region offers up a number of pleasant surprises for all who visit the area. For those planning a visit to the southern part of France (accommodation abound on this website), deciding on exactly which [...]

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The South of France, often known as le Midi, covers an extensive amount of geography. For this reason and more, the region offers up a number of pleasant surprises for all who visit the area. For those planning a visit to the southern part of France (accommodation abound on this website), deciding on exactly which attractions to see may be challenging. Below are the 5 best historical attractions in the South of France.

Castle of Carcassone

Regarded as being among the most impressive castles within Europe, Castle of Carcassone, along with its encompassing walled city was nearly destroyed during the 19th Century. Luckily, total destruction was avoided and French architect, Viollet-de-Duc took charged of rebuilding. Carcassone served as an important trading region and was utilized as a stronghold during the middle ages. There is no cost to enter, and visitors are free to walk the grounds and streets.

Font de Gaume

Font de Gaume is a cave painting area which is located near Les Eyzies. The site dates back to 14,000BC, and was known about by locals long before the paintings were actually identified in 1901. The cave system contains over 230 total images, with new images being exposed as the caves are cleaned. The images offer a glimpse into life during prehistoric times. Font de Gaume tours can be booked online. Advance booking is wise, as the site tends to be extremely busy.

Villefranche Beach

Another option for relaxation would be a visit to the village of Villefranche. This sea-side village was voted among the very best beaches within Europe. Being located near Nice, Villefranche and its bay are often used as movie settings. Visitors are free to go sailing, peruse the beautiful coastline, and enjoy some of the best seafood restaurants to be found anywhere.

Canal du Midi

Possibly more attractive than historical, the Canal du Midi is perfect for those who wish to cycle through the countryside. The footpaths extend from Toulouse to Agde, offering 250km of canal area for exploration. Although cycling is a favorite activity of this area, tours are also available by boat for those who would prefer a more relaxing experience.

Accrobranche

Accrobranche, located in Motagnac, is an excellent area for active individuals. The fascinating woodland centered destination offer plenty of safe and stimulating activities. Although many of the activities here are geared towards children, adults will also be able to participate. Of course there is also the option to simply explore the gorgeous surroundings which are a part of so many of the areas within the South of France.

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Cycling in France http://budgettravelintentions.net/cycling-in-france/ http://budgettravelintentions.net/cycling-in-france/#comments Mon, 13 May 2013 20:11:03 +0000 http://budgettravelintentions.net/?p=843 Cycling is a French national pasttime. The country may not have as many cycleways as the Netherlands, but cycle touring has been part of French life since the bicycle was invented. Just watch the fervour that springs up each year for the biggest sporting event in the country, the Tour de France. Combined with the [...]

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Cycling is a French national pasttime. The country may not have as many cycleways as the Netherlands, but cycle touring has been part of French life since the bicycle was invented. Just watch the fervour that springs up each year for the biggest sporting event in the country, the Tour de France. Combined with the impeccable cuisine and hospitality across the country, and it’s hard to imagine a better country for cycling holidays.

France is quite accommodating to cyclists. Drivers on French country roads all know to watch for cyclists on the weekend, from packs of speed cyclists riding ultra-lightweight bikes to individuals and families out for a ride. It’s not uncommon for French drivers to find themselves sharing the road with groups either preparing for or participating in local bike races and championships… and this is all year round.

During the summertime, the local cyclists share the roadways with long distance touring cyclists, either tourists riding hotel to hotel or traveling across the country loaded down with camping equipment.

Taking Bikes on French Trains

French trains are generally bike-friendly. Most regional express trains (TERs) allow people to take their bikes onto the train and do it free of charge. In theory, bike space on the train must be ordered when you buy your ticket, but this service is not available if you buy online. For rural train routes, most people just buy their tickets at the station from which they’re departing, buying a ticket for the next train out and indicating at the time of purchase that they have a bike with them. Fortunately, TERs are rarely full — except for commuter trains.

Intercity express trains and TGV high speed trains are somewhat more confusing for the cyclist. Some of these trains take bikes, and some don’t. Of the trains that do, some charge extra. Almost all of the long distance trains that take bikes have relatively little bike space. Some travel guides therefore suggest you buy a bike bag, so that you can carry your bike like hand luggage and make it count as ordinary luggage. That way, you can always buy your tickets on the Internet before you travel.

Where to Ride

Cycling holidays in France generally make use of the incredible network of country lanes and secondary roads. Almost all of France’s 880,000 km road network (excluding motorways) is open to bicycle riders. Most of that network consists of minor byways that have very light traffic and lorries quite few and far between. Cycling these roads ranges from safe to quite safe, making them a great way to plan cycling holidays all over France.

France also has a constantly developing cycleway network that’s even safer than the minor road network. The cycleway network consists of a few thousand kilometers worth of dedicated cycle tracks, most offering no hazards besides wildlife and pedestrians.

There are six substantially complete long distance routes that make for superb cycling holidays in France, and a few that connect with them:

- the Euro veloroute EV1 running north south from La Baule to Biarritz
- the Euro veloroute EV6 running east west from La Baule to Orleans
- the Atlantic-Mediterranean route from Arachon to Sète
- the Northwest France route from Cherbourg to La Baule
- the North-South Cherbourg to la Rochelle route
- the Normandy / Channel coast route

These should by no means be considered the only routes to take, but they are some of the most popular.

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Saving Money in Paris http://budgettravelintentions.net/saving-money-in-paris/ http://budgettravelintentions.net/saving-money-in-paris/#comments Wed, 19 Dec 2012 10:50:49 +0000 http://budgettravelintentions.net/?p=639 Everybody wants to go to Paris, but sometimes the thought of heading to what is one of Europes more expensive cities can be off-putting. If you have a few cost-cutting tips, however, then a trip to the French capital can be both fun and cheap. Here youll find a few pieces of advice to save [...]

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Everybody wants to go to Paris, but sometimes the thought of heading to what is one of Europes more expensive cities can be off-putting. If you have a few cost-cutting tips, however, then a trip to the French capital can be both fun and cheap. Here youll find a few pieces of advice to save you money on your Paris holiday.

Travel in Winter

Paris in winter is perhaps the best time of the year to visit as youll find the city a lot quieter than it is in the height of summer. So avoid the huge queues outside Le Louvre and Eiffel Tower and visit in December youll save a lot of money too! The prices are a lot cheaper in the winter months than in summer for just about everything. From restaurants to flights, the cost of exploring Paris plummets around November time.

Not only is your holiday cheaper at that time of year, but many would argue that the city is even more beautiful in winter. Paris is always spectacular by night and when the days get shorter and shorter, the picturesque Paris evenings get longer and longer. Add to that the fact that Paris boasts some of the coolest Christmas lights in Europe especially along the Champs-Elyses and youre in for a not too expensive treat if heading to Paris in the run-up to Christmas.

Dont Get a Taxi from the Airport

A taxi from the airport to the city centre could set you back as much as 50. So dont fall for that and instead get the RER B train or Roissybus, both of which cost under 10.

Also, while exploring the city, you can make a lot of savings by purchasing a Navigo card. As long as you have a passport sized photo, you can buy this card which will give you unlimited bus and Metro travel for a week for around 16.

Free Attractions

Believe it or not, but many of the attractions that Paris has to offer are actually free. For a start, some of Paris beautiful gardens are free to enter and you can quite easily pass an afternoon admiring them. Among the best free gardens in Paris are The Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin du Palais Royal and the Parc du Champ de Mars.

Also know that the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral is free to enter. Not only that, but a free English-language tour is also available. The city even has free museum days every first Sunday of the month. So you can check out the Louvre or Muse d’Orsay for free, but be prepared for it to busy on those days.

Save Money on Accommodation

When in Paris, you dont have to book a fancy hotel for your stay. You can save money by staying in a self-catering apartment which will even let you experience a little more of the atmosphere of the city. At a hotel youll be surrounded by other tourists, whereas in an apartment you can even get to meet the neighbours and fully experience your own little area of Paris. All-Paris-Apartments have a large range of apartments around the city so no matter what part of Paris you feel like getting to know, youll be bound to find an apartment you like there.

As well as the fact that an apartment will work out cheaper than a hotel, youll even be able to cook a few meals at home. You dont have to eat out every night and if you did it would cost you a fortune. By cooking in your apartments kitchen you can show off your cooking skills, as well as saving money.

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http://budgettravelintentions.net/caravanning-or-campervanning-in-europe-dos-and-donts/ http://budgettravelintentions.net/caravanning-or-campervanning-in-europe-dos-and-donts/#comments Tue, 11 Dec 2012 02:27:23 +0000 http://budgettravelintentions.net/?p=630 Weve all had to rein our expenses in a little over the last few years. And whilst a holiday every year, is something we all want and look forward to, sometimes we have to change things up for the sake of frugality. This has lead to much more people opting for a staycation or exploring [...]

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Weve all had to rein our expenses in a little over the last few years. And whilst a holiday every year, is something we all want and look forward to, sometimes we have to change things up for the sake of frugality. This has lead to much more people opting for a staycation or exploring other areas of the UK; but it doesnt mean you have to forsake foreign lands just to save money.

Hiring a campervan or caravan and heading over to France has been a tried and tested holiday for years; but now its starting to appeal to a wider audience. You get to see one of the most stunning countries in the world; without spending an arm and a leg.

So, if youre thinking about trying this holiday next summer; here are your essential dos and donts.

Be Prepared

Clearly you need to do your research when it comes to your choice of caravan. Consider how many of you theyll be, where youre heading and your budget. Once youve made your choice; it doesnt stop there either. Youll need to make sure youre fully covered insurance wise. The first place to start is with caravan insurance quotes from Safeguard. Then you can start planning your trip.

Avoid Peak Times

Between July and August is the peak time for holidays in Europe. Campsites will be extremely busy and the prices will rise. If youre going with the kids it may be difficult to avoid this time, but if youre travelling with a group of friends staying away at this time of year will save you significantly.

Get GPS

Always have a road map as backup. But lets face it, no matter how confident you are; you can still get lost. Invest in a GPS and just keep the road map as an insurance policy.

Know the Dimensions

Before you leave, make sure you measure the dimensions of your vehicle and keep them with you at all times. At some point youll be presented with a low bridge or narrow gap. You dont want to leave this up to chance; especially if youre hiring.

Its Not All About Paying for Camping

Yes France has arguably the best selection of campsites anywhere in Europe, but you shouldnt ignore free camping. Stopping at a beautiful beach or mountain rest area can be an amazing experience and is allowed in Europe (its heavily clamped down in countries like New Zealand). If youre worried about theft, these most often occur in busy roadside camping areas, not out in the wilderness.

Understand the Law

Driving on the right hand side of the road is just the beginning. Road laws vary from country to country in Europe, so it really pays to keep up to date with those in the countries (if you fancy more than France) youre visiting; you dont want to get caught out.

Check Your Passports

You may just be heading to France, or you might be travelling a little longer through a few European countries. The road laws may vary, but the border laws can too. Some countries demand at least six months left on all passports before they expire. Check this and renew if you need to.

Most of all, enjoy it. Once youve experienced the freedom, you know youll be hooked.

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Tips for Luxury Travel to France While on a Budget http://budgettravelintentions.net/tips-for-luxury-travel-to-france-while-on-a-budget/ http://budgettravelintentions.net/tips-for-luxury-travel-to-france-while-on-a-budget/#comments Sat, 17 Nov 2012 07:25:04 +0000 http://budgettravelintentions.net/?p=592 Nothing beats a French villa vacation in the most wonderful places in France. Whether it be in the South West of France, the French Riviera, or in the Loire, the experience of a luxury vacation in the beautiful country cannot be matched. It is a common misconception among travellers to think that a luxury vacation [...]

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Nothing beats a French villa vacation in the most wonderful places in France. Whether it be in the South West of France, the French Riviera, or in the Loire, the experience of a luxury vacation in the beautiful country cannot be matched.

It is a common misconception among travellers to think that a luxury vacation is not something possible that one can do while on a budget. The fact is, if you’re a wise traveller, you would know that luxury travels are not only for the rich and the wealthy. There are ways to enjoy a luxury vacation in France. You can definitely look for villas to rent in France while you’re there even if you’re on a budget. You just have to be knowledgeable on how you can go about it.

Here are some tips on how you can enjoy your France vacation in luxury despite being on a budget.

Tips for Luxury Travel to France While on a Budget -Make the preparation of the travel a serious deal

Not everyone can afford a France vacation by impulse. If the rich can just immediately decide on a trip, it is the opposite for middle class travelers. It does not mean however that we are not allowed to experience a luxury vacation. It just means that it needs a good amount of planning. Planning would not only mean budgeting or looking for resources to manage the expenses of travel. It also means research on all the possible means to to get deals, like in airfare or looking for nice and even luxury accommodations like a French villa.

Tips for Luxury Travel to France While on a Budget -Have access to latest discounts for travel accommodations through membership of travel mailing lists and online travel discount groups

During the preparation, the best way to gain access to great accommodation deals like luxury villas in France is to be a member or subscriber of travel mailing lists. It would also be a great suggestion to research French villas online and see if you can get discounts if you book early.

Tips for Luxury Travel to France While on a Budget -Travel with a group

Make this an oppportunity to reunite with siblings, or friends who are already working or residing in other parts of the country. Make this an organized vacation. That’s why preparation should be taken seriously. Moreover, traveling with a group can turn an expensive vacation into a cost-effective one. The whole group can rent a villa and split the expenses on accommodations, food and everything else. Aside from a fun vacation, you can definitely bring back important relationships with the people you consider important yet don’t see as much anymore.
If you have sisters, brothers, or friends who just live close to you, and would like to organize this vacation to France with you, then that would be a good thing too. Planning will become easier.

Tips for Luxury Travel to France While on a Budget -Create a travel fund with the group of people you’re going with to France

This might just be the best idea ever to make the luxury travel expenses not as heavy as they should be. Having a travel fund will let you enjoy France and a luxury villa without the worries of expenses always hovering over you.

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