How to Find Cheap Hotels on the Net

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Travelling on a budget doesn’t mean forgoing life’s little luxuries such as a comfortable and secure hotel stay where you can relax, get room service and experience sumptuous breakfast buffets. Sometimes accommodation expenses cost more than airfare, but there are places where you can find great hotel bargains that won’t make you feel like you’re depriving yourself of the vacation you deserve. Here’s how you can find cheap hotel accommodation online.

Browse through voucher sites.

Voucher sites make it easy for people to find cheap hotels by scouring the net for fab promos and putting them all in one place. The promos are listed according to brand, so if there’s a hotel in particular that you fancy, you can simply type the name of the hotel in the voucher site’s search box and you’ll see all of the deals that hotel is currently offering. You can also search for accommodation options according to category, which is useful if you don’t have a particular hotel in mind. A great place to find voucher codes for Britannia Hotels is to check online and look at sites like Total Discounts well before you begin your journey.

The deals you can grab vary depending on the hotel, but generally the offers include reduced rates for two-night, three-day stays with a buffet breakfast for two, a free massage or day at the spa and airport transfers. You can also get deals on tour packages, so if it’s your first time in a new city it would be an excellent idea to avail of the promo—just make sure you book within the specified validity period.

Compare prices on booking sites.

Another way to find cheap hotels online is by going to booking sites where you can compare hotel rates for the accommodation you require on your planned travel dates. The price comparison feature shows you how much room rates are for your specified dates for different hotels, so you can determine at a glance which hotel can give you the most savings. Do take note that the published rates may not always be the total cost for a day’s stay—make sure you also check out what is included with that rate, such as breakfast, pool and gym use, Wi-Fi access and refreshments.

Check out official hotel websites and social media accounts.

Every now and then hotels would have flash sales on rooms, especially when bookings get cancelled or during a dry tourist season. These promo rates would be announced via the hotel’s official website and social media accounts, if any (and there should be!). It takes less than a minute to check out, bookmark and follow a hotel’s website and accounts, and some hotels even conduct giveaways when you follow, like and share their posts. Who knows, you may get to win a free two-night stay!

Try out secret hotel deals.

If you like a bit of mystery to go with sure-fire savings on your accommodation, take the plunge and book a secret room. In a secret mystery room deal, you are given a discount on your hotel stay but are not informed beforehand about exactly which hotel it is. You’ll be given a few clues to help you make your decision and will be told the name of the hotel once you’ve paid for your reservation. Many travellers have been shocked (in a good way, we assure you) to be given a luxury room in a top hotel at amazingly low rates thanks to these mystery rooms.

Good Places to Get Discounts Online

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Hand Putting Money in Car Shaped Piggy Bank

The convenience of shopping online has taken the internet by storm, and it’s now terribly easy to purchase clothes and food as well as book hotel rooms and airline tickets on the net. And with the influx of people making their purchases online, retailers and companies have also populated the online marketplace with big discounts on products and services.

Fab deals, cheap thrills—where exactly can you get these online, and more importantly, how do you know these promos are nothing but scams? Many scams target unsuspecting users who think they’re bagging a bargain when in fact they’re wasting money.

To avoid being a victim, make sure you do some background research on the sellers you are dealing with. We’re here to help you with information on good and reliable places where you can get real discounts online.

Voucher sites

Voucher sites help brands sell by publishing the latest promos and coupon codes that help buyers get discounts on products and services. Since the codes are directly tied to the brand’s current promotions, you can trust voucher sites to lead you to great bargains online.

Official websites

Company websites have their own shop where you can buy the brand’s products directly. Every now and then, brands would hold end-of-season or clearance sales where you can score great deals such as discounts on bestsellers and free items when your total purchase reaches a certain amount.

Credit card perks

Credit card companies usually have tie-ups with hotels, restaurants, entertainment centres, retail shops and other companies to bring cardholders perks when they spend on those establishments. These perks may come in the form of points for shopping, airline miles, cashback, free upgrades and more. Check your credit card to see which companies honour it and the discounts you can get from them.

Social media

Companies who want to reach a bigger audience take to social media to grow their brand and conduct polls, contests and similar strategies to get more people to engage. These contests would often require users to like the company page and share posts, with the company randomly choosing winners. Prizes could be product packages, a trip for two to a hot destination, or a hotel stay, among others. If you’re active on social media, it would be wise to follow brand accounts so you’ll also be in the know about a company’s latest promotions.

Online marketplaces and auction sites

Some smaller retailers take to online marketplaces to ply their wares. It could get tricky to determine if they won’t simply run away with your money, so caution is advised. Compare the seller’s prices with the rest of the market. If you find the discount hard to believe, exercise caution—the product may not be authentic. In addition, make sure only secure payment methods are used. Read customer reviews and message the seller directly before committing to anything.

Auction sites serve a similar purpose, but cater mostly to those looking for pre-owned items. The prices are understandably cheaper than new. As with other online selling platforms, take care and only deal with sellers with a high trust rating.

Drinking In the Ice Bars of Scandinavia

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Ice bars are watering holes that are primarily made of ice and feature walls, sculptures, tables, seats and bar stools primarily made of ice and usually lit up by colourful LED lights. Ice bars are commonly associated with an ice hotel and are popular in Scandinavian countries but have also made their way to other tourist destinations across the globe—even in tropical countries!

If you’d like to experience drinking cocktails at an ice bar, the best place to do it is in the Scandinavian nations of Norway, Iceland, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. You’ll find plenty of discount coupons and promos offering a hotel stay along with a trip to an ice bar, where you can warm yourself up with some vodka in a shot glass made of ice.

Here’s everything you need to know about drinking in the ice bars of Scandinavia and the best ice bars in the Arctic!

History

Ice bars originated in Sweden, where the first ice bar was built in 1994. Icebar, part of the Icehotel in Jukkasjarvi, has become the most popular well, ice bar in the world. Every winter the bar is rebuilt with a new theme in a different layout, with ice sculptors all over the world making their mark in the establishment. It’s like stepping into a new bar every time. Icebar’s main structure is made from gigantic ice blocks 40 to 50 tons in weight that are harvested from the pure and crystal-clear Torne River.

After the ice bar’s massive success, other hotel and bar chains around the world followed suit and came up with their own version of an ice bar. You’ll now find ice bars in France, Mexico City, Seoul, New Delhi and Australia, among other top tourist destinations.

How it works

Those who want to have an authentic ice bar experience have to purchase entry tickets, which come with one drink per person. Making reservations is recommended; booking in advance can get you lower prices.

It’s necessary to dress warmly, and ice bars also provide guests with heavy, warm fur-trimmed jackets or capes and gloves or mittens—the temperature inside ice bars could drop to 23 degrees Fahrenheit to keep all the ice from melting.

Depending on the bar, guests can choose from a vodka-berry cocktail or a straight-up ice-cold vodka shot. The drinks, of course, are served in ice glasses. Guests usually stay around 30 to 45 minutes. Bar staff work in three-hour shifts only because too much exposure to the frigid environment could harm their health.

Must-see ice bars in Scandinavia

Aside from the pioneering Icebar in Jukkasjarvi, other ice bars in the Arctic that are surely worth a visit include Icebar Stockholm and the SnowCastle. Icebar Stockholm is housed in the Nordic C Hotel and enjoys the prestige of being the first ice bar in the world to be open year-round, which means it’s also the first permanent ice bar on the planet. It’s also an art gallery where you can see fantastic sculptures made of ice.

The SnowCastle, located in Kemi, Finland, is considered the largest snow fort in the world. Its ice bar serves both alcoholic and non-alcoholic hot and cold drinks in ice glasses. Other ice bars worth checking out are the Artico Ice Bar in Honningsvag, Norway; the Arctic Icebar in Helsinki, Finland and the bar at the Arctic Snow Hotel in Sinetta, Finland.

Top 10 Hotels Around the World

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Hotels around the world have become not only places of accommodation for travellers but as destinations in their own right. Now, it’s not just enough to have cosy rooms and amenities such as pools and gyms—there must be something that makes a hotel or resort stand out.

Travellers from all over the world have contributed to thousands of reviews on hotels, helping travel websites and magazines come up with list of the best hotels on the planet. These hotels are ranked based on location, rooms, service quality, food, amenities and overall value for money. If you’re keen on experiencing them yourself, get booking! Pro tip: check for discount coupons that will give you big savings on your accommodation expenses.

Here are the top 10 hotels around the world you will surely enjoy staying in.

Triple Creek Ranch

Nestled in the mountains of western Montana in the United States, this all-inclusive luxury ranch takes the top spot in many lists because of its picturesque location and exceptional service. Guests stay in upscale log cabins with wood-burning fireplaces and hot tubs. The hotel also offers a number of activities for every interest, whether it’s a horseback riding, a scenic hike in the lush mountain, a game of tennis or a wine tasting session—no wonder it’s often described as a Montana hideaway!

Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest

When you hear or see the world palace, another word that often comes to mind is grand, and it would be true in the case of the Gresham Palace, located at the Szechenyi Square in Budapest. First constructed in 1906 in the art nouveau style, this hotel exudes luxury in every corner with its mosaic tiles, crystal chandeliers and stained-glass windows.

Stately and spacious suites await guests looking to explore Budapest’s most impressive landmarks, such as the Chain Bridge, St. Stephen’s Basilica and Buda Castle. Travellers recommend getting a room that faces the river Danube for the greatest sensory impact.

Southern Ocean Lodge

For another sojourn in nature’s finest, go Down Under to Australia’s Kangaroo Island, where you can stay in one of Southern Ocean Lodge’s 21 suites filled with works by local artisans. The suites feature an outdoor terrace and limestone floors. The cool breeze circulates in the suites, making air conditioning unnecessary. One of the highlights is the Osprey Pavilion suite, which has a private pool and walls made of glass.

The Langham

For amazing views of the Windy City’s skyline and the Chicago River, book a room at The Langham in Illinois, which offers floor-to-ceiling windows. Take a dip at the world-class pool at the hotel’s Chuan Spa and you’ll never want to leave. The hotel, which is housed in a skyscraper of architect Mies van der Rohe’s design, is fairly new: it was only opened in July 2013 yet it has already become a favourite among travellers because of its exceptional service. The Langham also offers a fitness centre, butler service and a private club.

Oberoi Udaivilas

India has never failed to amaze travellers around the world because of its rich culture, astounding architecture, flavourful food and enchanting wildlife. The 50-acre Oberoi Udaivilas has its own island in Udaipur, India. To get there, you take a short trip across Lake Pichola on a private boat. The hotel features outdoor corridors that let guests enjoy the view of the lake as well as room designs inspired by the Mewar culture of India.

Marvel at the estate’s fountains and gardens, watch the sunset from your own private pool, explore the 18-century Bada Mahal palace and see if you can spot the island’s wild boars from your private terrace—it’s all up to you.

Taj Lake Palace

Another must-visit hotel in Udaipur is the Taj Lake Palace, a massive marble structure that sits on its own island on the same lake as the Oberoi Udaivilas. At nearly 270 years old, the structure is nothing short of amazing—stunning mosaics, colourful silks and vibrant frescoes come as standard, with each of the 17 luxury suites and 66 rooms offering a view of the lake. The hotel also offers guests a chance to take a tour around the Jaisamand Wildlife Sanctuary.

Singita Sabi Sand

For a taste of the African wilderness, make your choice the Singita Sabi Sand game reserve, located in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. The property comprises of three lodges, named Ebony, Castleton and Boulders, all of which feature interiors by African designers. The Ebony lodge offers a view of the Sand River, where you can see elephants enjoying a bath. Book a safari to enjoy everything the park has to offer.

Londolozi Game Reserve

Another top destination in the Kruger National Park is the Londolozi Game Reserve, where you can choose from 12 suites and 32 rooms divided among five lodges. The reserve is popular among travellers who want to see leopards in the wild. You can also learn about local culture and get to see how the property helps the community in terms of livelihood and education by reserving a spot for the Four Pillars of Hope tour.

Nayara Hotel, Spa and Gardens

There are 16 exclusive villas in this resort, located in the Arenal Volcano National Park in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. Each villa has its own private plunge pool, which is filled by spring waters from the nearby Arenal Volcano. Guests can go on an adventure on a guided tour of the Costa Rican jungle and relax in a hammock after a well-deserved massage at the hotel’s spa.

Ocean House

Another hotel that offers stunning views of the beach is the aptly named Ocean House, located at Rhode Island in the United States. First established in 1868, this Victorian structure was renovated into a luxe hotel that offers private villas alongside glamorous guest rooms. Ocean House is what you can call a classic New England resort, featuring well-manicured croquet lawns, a private beach and custom-made furnishings. Choose from 18 suites and 49 guest rooms and enjoy a cocktail by the hotel’s terrace while being serenaded by the waves.

Things to Think About When Backpacking Around Russia

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Backpacking is a challenging, yet highly enjoyable experience that lets you immerse yourself in other places and cultures while gaining confidence in your ability to travel lightly, interact with other people and take care of yourself on the road. Russia is one of the top destinations backpackers go to because of its rich history and culture, amazing architecture and its proximity to other must-see countries in Europe and Asia.

If you’ve chosen Russia to be your next backpacking destination, here are some things you have to consider first so you can be sure to cover all your bases while travelling.

Getting a tourist visa

The first hurdle you have to address is getting permission to enter Russia. Make sure you visit your country’s Russian Embassy or travel bureau to get the details of getting a tourist visa.

It can be difficult to obtain a visa, even if you’re just passing through: you will need a letter of invitation from an authorized body and the letter has to be in Russian. This document consists of two parts, a reservation confirmation and a tourist voucher, and shows your accommodation details as well as the dates when you will be in Russia.

You can request an invitation letter from the hotel where you’ll be staying. If you haven’t made reservations yet, you can book a room at reduced rates via discount coupons available online. Ask the hotel if they can assist you in acquiring a visa. There will be a fee involved, but it’s the quickest and most hassle-free way to get what you need.

Cheap accommodation options are numerous as well, especially in St. Petersburg, with plenty of budget hotels offering visa validation when you arrive.

Once you have received your letter of invitation from the hotel, you can continue with the visa application process. It usually takes one working week for a single-entry visa.

Budget

You won’t need a big budget when backpacking around Russia. Food, accommodation, tours and transportation are all inexpensive. The average cost of a hostel stay is around €10-20 a night, even less when you book using discount coupons.

Getting around Russia

Russia’s transport system is very manageable, with trains and buses plying different routes. Language is strictly Russian however, so you have to have a guidebook or phrasebook at hand if you ever need to ask for directions. You must have your passport with you at all times even if you’re just going out for coffee or risk being fined.

When to go

The best time to go backpacking around Russia depends on where you want to go. Most of Russia’s cities have a continental climate, which means warm summer months. However, if you want to avoid crowds, visiting during early autumn or late spring would be best. If you’re going to northern Russia, be prepared for the extreme cold.

Activities

What do you plan to do in Russia once you get there? Many hostels in Russia organise activities for tourists and they also have plenty of information about events that may interest you. City tours also have English-speaking history students on board, so language barrier won’t be a problem. You can also see the country’s beautiful churches, watch a Russian ballet, learn a bit of the language and check out the underground metro in Moscow.