Friday, 22 August 2014

City Breaks on a ShoeString

Don't allow your perceptions of cost to limit your choice of destination. There are plenty of ways to explore these locations on a budget. Below are some ideas on how I have and how you can visit these costly hotspots on a shoestring budget and still have a gay ‘ole time.

Paris on a Shoestring

Make savings on a break to the French capital by carefully selecting when to go. While Paris in the summer can make for a wonderful holiday, the best time to go for the frugal traveller is between November and April. Not only will you save money by going during the ‘off-season,’ you’ll have the chance to experience a romantic Parisian spring, or the magic of Christmas during winter. Cut back on costs by spending your time at free attractions such as the Pompidou Centre, Notre Dame Cathedral and Parc des Buttes.

Oslo on a Shoestring

With a spot of lunch costing just under £30, Oslo is a regular on ‘world’s most expensive cities’ lists. But don’t be disheartened by these astronomical prices; it is possible to explore and enjoy Oslo on a tight budget. Make your first big saving by camping in the forest in the north of town, for free. Instead of spending bags of cash on dining out, take a trip to a supermarket and head out for a picnic at one of Oslo’s many parks, such as Frogner and Vigeland. It will provide you with an opportunity to take time out and really see Oslo. Forget about costly cab fares or public transportation passes; for 60 Kroner, you'll be able to bike virtually anywhere within the city limits to your heart's content, or at least as far as your legs will take you.

Copenhagen on a Shoestring

Falling from 8 to 12 in ECA International’s list, cosmopolitan Copenhagen is a beautiful but pricey city. Budget accommodation is hard to come by, so reserving a room early is recommended. The DanHostel Copenhagen City is a ‘design’ hostel located in the heart of Copenhagen, offering beds from just £15 a night. For cheap eats, the city streets have plenty of fast food options in the shape of hotdog stands, but for a healthier option make your way to Det sunde køkken for salads and chicken at €2-4, the equivalent of around £6. There is a regular and super clean train from the airport to the central train station in Copenhagen, so taxis are a waste of time; please note though, that the trains put their final destination (which is usually after Copenhagen) and you should be aware where they are going. There is a bike service for free, where you can rent bikes all over town.

Stockholm on a shoestring

Stockholm is the most expensive city in Sweden and the 17th most expensive in the world. However, with some careful planning and research, it is possible to make the most of the Swedish capital while still being kind to your pocket. Hotels can be pricey but hostels are much more reasonable, as is eating and drinking at the hip Sodermalm area. There are also plenty of free sights in the city, including the National Museum, and two popular beaches. Planning really did pay off and saved me a lot of money and time, thankfully I had bought a Stockholm Card, which gives you, among other things, free museum entrances and free ferry transportation between Gamla Stan and Djurgården (an 8-minute trip that otherwise takes long by bus, not to mention by foot. This ferry leaves every 20 minutes, and the schedule can be accessed at Stockholm Sightseeing's website).

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