JANE HOTEL'S TINY ROOMS SAVE BIG ON BUDGET IN NYC ...
Who spends much time in a hotel room during a New York City trip? My favorite hotel for its hipster vibe, clean accommodations, groovy West Village location and budget-conscious rate is the Jane Hotel. For a low $100s a night room rate (plus taxes) stay in a 50-square-foot room. Staff wears vintage-looking bellhop uniforms but hotel has modern comforts of free WiFi, flat-screen television, bathrobe and slippers. Bathrooms are shared and coed yet privacy is easy. During a two-night stay I had my privacy and no awkward moments. 113 Jane Street, New York, N.Y. 10014; Tel: (212) 924-6700; www.thejanenyc.com
Submitted by: Jennifer Huber Twitter: @jenniferhuber Website: http://www.solotravelgirl.com
CAFE IN BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA SIZZLES ...
The Caffe Strada in Berkeley, right across from the UC Berkeley campus at the corner of College and Bancroft avenues, is an extension of the university without being the university. The atmosphere of intense inquiry still sizzles here just as it does on the campus across the street, but it's also a bridge to the town beyond the gown, a place where office workers stop by for an americano on their way to work and suburban spouses bring their kids for cupcakes and lemonade in the afternoon. The Strada spans coasts too, commingling east coast intellectualism with west coast hedonism. Address: 2300 College Avenue
Submitted by: Don George, Features Editor, Gadling Twitter: @don_george Website: www.gadling.com
A RESORT ON OLYMPIC PENINSULA (USA) IS A TREAT ...
Olympic Peninsula is the large arm of land in western Washington state (USA), that lies across Puget Sound from Seattle. A random find on my recent journey to the Olympic Peninsula, the family-owned Ocean Crest Resort is quite a treat. There's indoor swimming, hot tub, tanning bed, and massage therapy in the cedar lodge, and beach access through a meandering walkway of a wooded ravine. The best room in the house, with a view of the ocean from the top of a 100 foot bluff, was $120 a night during the peak of June's 2011 rhododendron bloom. This is a great base from which to explore the rainforest, glacial lakes, historic towns, and rocky beaches of this amazing region. P.S. they have an amazing restaurant and wine cellar, too.
Submitted by: Mary Myers Twitter: @womensjourneys Website: www.wanderandexplore.com
THE BEST TAILOR IN HOI AN, VIETNAM...
Hoi An, Vietnam is known for its tailors that can custom-sew just about anything you can imagine overnight, for a fraction of western costs. However many of the tailors in town who have popped up quite recently, have no real experience, produce shoddy work or might even blatantly rip you off. It's best to do a bit of internet research before patronizing any one tailor. Have your chosen tailor make one piece for you, and if you are satisfied, order more. From personal experience I recommend Miss Forget Me Not, who runs Stall #20 inside the cloth market (other seamstresses may try to impersonate her, so make sure you find stall #20). She is an independent business woman who does good, reliable work for less than many of the other tailors on the street.
Submitted by: Stephanie Yoder Twitter: @20sTravel Website: http://twenty-somethingtravel.com
ELEPHANTS ON GEORGE IV BRIDGE IN EDINBURGH ...
Go for a snack or food or drink at The Elephant House located in the heart of historic Edinburgh (21 George IV Bridge). Demand to sit in back. It has an amazing view of the castle, and there's a surprise waiting for you when you open the drawers of your table. I have had great food at every meal, good drink list of coffees and teas - and their shortbread are shaped like elephants, so cute!
Submitted by: Andy Hayes Twitter: @andrewghayes Website: http://www.sharingtravelexperiences.com
EDITOR'S NOTE: Check out Andy's 'Edinburgh Secrets for iPhone/iPad'
FIND THE BEST PLACE TO EAT ANYWHERE ...
We have two suggestions for finding interesting meals that will always pay off. (1) To find the best spot (based on your preferences), go to the concierge in the swankiest hotel you can find. Don't worry, we've never had a concierge ask if we were guests at the hotel and they are always a great source of information. Ask them where to eat. Don't be afraid to give them a price range as well as the type of food you like. Many times the concierge will book your reservation and give you a coupon or special deal. We went to the Drake Hotel in Toronto and the concierge hooked us up with a great meal at a hole in the wall Italian restaurant that we won't soon forget. (2) Our next suggestion is simply to ask a local. On a recent trip to Trieste, Italy we asked the front desk person at a local bed and breakfast where she would go to eat dinner. She looked a bit surprised and then gave us the name of a local pizza place. The pizza was amazing. It was definitely off the tourist trail; we ate with Italians and enjoyed the best pizza of the trip. Remember, don't be afraid to ask! It will pay off with interesting, local food and well eaten calories.
Submitted by: Luci Willits Twitter: @1000fights Website: http://www.1000fights.com
TINY SHACK IN A PARKING LOT IN DULAN, TAIWAN ...
In the tiny town of Dulan on the east coast of Taiwan (southern end), there's an old Sugar Factory that's been turned into an artist space (well worth checking out).
n the parking lot is a tiny shack (no idea what it's called in English) where a young Japanese couple runs an artsy, hip cafe that makes phenomenal Japanese dishes, including a mean plate of Okonomi-yaki, across between a pancake, a pizza and an omelet.
Submitted by: Spud Hilton, Travel Editor, San Francisco Chronicle, Twitter: @SpudHilton Website: www.SFGate.com/travel
CANADA'S MOST AFFORDABLE CRUISE ...
People expect to have to pay big bucks to view British Columbia's dramatic coastal scenery. But there's a budget-friendly alternative to an expensive Alaskan cruise: hop aboard BC Ferries' Queen of Capilano and make the 20-minute crossing from Horseshoe Bay to bucolic Bowen Island (It's one of Canada's top five ferry trips). Take the #257 bus from downtown Vancouver to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal and buy a return foot passenger ticket (less than $10) to Bowen. Head for the top deck for spectacular views of Howe Sound--North America's southern-most fjord--and wildlife such as eagles, dolphins and seals. You can stay on board for the return journey, or enjoy an afternoon of hiking, shopping, kayaking or dining on Bowen.
Submitted by: Julie Ovenell-Carter Twitter: @whygocanada Website: www.whygocanada.com
This food looks good enough to eat...
Picture this. You are travelling on an overnight train in Europe. The young couple seated beside you are very chatty and offer lots of good advice about what to do at your destination. They unpack a wonderful picnic of sausage, cheese, fresh bread and wine. The aromas are so enticing, they offer to share their food and wine. You're thinking, 'this is what European travel is all about'. Again, evaluate very carefully before you partake. Understand that drugging is always a possibility. You don't want to wake up to find your friendly neighbours gone along with all your belongings.
Evelyn Hannon Twitter: @journeywoman
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