Backpacking is certainly one of the most authentic ways to see the world. You get to soak up a myriad of experiences, meet new people, eat amazing food, learn different languages, and what’s more, it doesn’t cost you the earth!

If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re already drawn to backpacking. Perhaps you’re apprehensive about backpacking because you’ve never taken the road less traveled before. Indeed, backpacking isn’t all fun and games; there’ll be times when you’ll wonder why you even thought of this. But if you do it right, you’re sure to cherish the experience once you get back home!

Here are some don’ts you should read before you plan your budget backpacking trip:

Don't Do It on Your Own

You can't venture into the wilderness on your own if you've never gone backpacking before. If you have a friend or know someone who is an experienced backpacker, ask him or her if you can join them on their next trip. Knowledgeable company is not only good for your peace of mind but you'll also get to learn a lot if you travel with a seasoned backpacker.

Be sure to travel with a compatible partner; traveling with the wrong person can be a lot worse than traveling alone. Of course, you need to be a good travel companion yourself!

Don’t Test Your Limits

You're new to backpacking and if you don't want to be put off by the whole experience, don't push yourself too hard. Don't be too ambitious about how much ground you'll be able to cover on foot each day and don't imagine that staying away from home for a month will be fine.

If you're backpacking to a new country, a week or two abroad should be manageable, and if you're going to be in the wilderness following trails, take a two-day one-night trip. A shorter trip will also mean you’ll be spending less money!

Backpacking the Incan Trail in Peru
Backpacking the Incan Trail in Peru

Don’t Overfill Your Plate

Remember that quality surpasses quantity when it comes to experiencing the outdoors or other countries. So whilst you keep your trip short, also keep it sweet by planning your itinerary well.

A jam-packed itinerary will mean you’ll be running around trying to see and do as much as possible without really appreciating anything. Plan your itinerary such that you get to smell the roses along the way.

Don’t Over-Plan

Planning is good but over-planning things or following a plan to the T isn’t. You’re going on a trip to have some fun, so don’t shy away from making spontaneous plans.

If you’re on a trail and you find out about a precipice that offers a splendid view, go take in the natural beauty even if it means setting off in another direction. And if you have to postpone leaving a city by a couple of days so you can attend the grand annual fest, just do it!

Making changes to your plans might affect your finances. Simply be prepared for any changes right from the beginning so that you’re not short of cash for unexpected expenses.

Don’t Pick Just Any Destination

If you choose someplace far away, getting to the destination itself will tire you out. As a beginner, select a place that is closer to home so that you can get there easily. Also try to be close to home or civilization so that you don’t feel homesick during the trip.

Backpacking along the beach

Don't Splurge on Backpacking Gear

Firstly, you're on a budget so you can't afford to splurge on backpacking gear. Secondly, this is going to be your first backpacking trip and you don't know if you'll like the experience or not. It won't be wise to spend all your savings on backpacking gear if you may never undertake a backpacking trip again.

That doesn’t mean you buy cheap gear though; if the quality of the gear isn’t good, it might not even make it through your first trip!

The best thing you can do is rent instead of buy backpacking gear. Search for rental shops in your area and you'll get all you need for your backpacking trip without having to spend a fortune.

Don’t Pack Too Much

Your first backpacking trip can be overwhelming and you might want to pack all that you can possibly carry. Don’t give in to the temptation though; you’ll regret it in less than a week.

Realize that you won’t need four pairs of pants and ten shirts while backpacking. You can wear a single pair of pants for the whole trip but if you want some change, just an extra pair will suffice. Pack a minimal number of shirts but a fresh pair of socks and underwear for each day of the trip.

Do pack a formal outfit and a pair of formal shoes too; you never know when you might get invited to a wedding. And if you decide to spend on a lavish dinner, dressing up will make the experience much more enjoyable!

If you must carry lotions, creams, and other items, buy travel size packs or make a habit of snagging the free ones from every hotel you stay at ;)

Do remember to leave space for souvenirs!

Conclusion

Backpacking is a great way to travel on a budget. But it’s important to do it right if you want to have a glitch-free trip! Using the tips given here you’ll definitely be able to have the time of your life. Happy backpacking!

  flickr   //   fortherock   jasonpriem

Few cities are as entertaining -- or as overwhelming to first time visitors -- as London. The sheer amount of sights and activities can be mind-boggling. However, aside from obligatory tourist attractions, London has a lot of unique sights, foods and activities that all foreign visitors to London should partake in. Here's what to do on your first trip to London to get the most authentic experience.

Get Your Culture On

The world famous Stonehenge is located in England not far from London

London has history like Hawaii has volcanoes. To visit London and not take a gander at the history and culture is akin to heresy. Although there are no shortage of sights located in the heart of the city, such as the Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and the National Gallery, the real history and culture of Olde England lies just outside of the modern city. Stonehenge, the Unesco World Heritage Site of Bath and the historic cathedral city of Salisbury are just a few of the nearby attractions, all of which are accessible via a full day tour through the legends and lore of Olde England.

Indulge in London's Offbeat Side

Whirled Cinema in London, England

Like all great metropolises, London has plenty of quirky and unique corners that remain known only to longtime residents. One such offbeat location is the Whirled Cinema. Tucked away in a side alley and with an entrance that appears to be an abandoned warehouse, few if any tourists stumble upon the Whirled Cinema without being tipped off by a local. The cinema is well-known and well-loved for showing unique and offbeat independent films in a cozy 60-seat theatre that is, of course, stocked with a small bar and restaurant as well.

View more Offbeat London Activities

Getta Lotta Harry Potter

London is the home of Harry Potter

Anyone who has ever seen Harry Potter knows that London is where it all began. Parts of The Order of the Phoenix and The Deathly Hallows were both filmed in London, and parts of the set are visible on the Harry Potter London Bus Tour. Or for the real Potter enthusiasts there is the Harry Potter Tour of Oxford and Lacock, which takes guests out of London to some of the country's most historic and beautiful sights.

Experience The Foodie Nightlife

Circus restaurant and bar in London, England

One of the best combinations in life besides chocolate and milk is food and alcohol. Thankfully London has an abundant selection of restaurant bars that serve the best food, drinks and entertainment all wrapped up in one nice little package. Take for example Circus, which is exactly as the name indicates: a full-on entertainment experience for all five senses. While guests dine on their delectable food and drinks they are treated to a wild show featuring acrobats, fire dancers and magicians. Definitely a one-of-a-kind experience!

Check out more Cool & Unique London Restaurant Bars

Bonus: A Photographers Tour of London

Guard change at Buckingham Palace in London, England

Experience the breathtaking fusion of the modern and historic London via a full day tour designed for photographers and history buffs alike. You'll cover some of London's most historic sites, from Westminster Abbey to St Paul’s Cathedral and the Buckingham Palace -- just in time for guard change!

What other tips or suggestions would you recommend for first-time visitors to London?

  flickr   //   itsbruce   karen_roe   masochismtango   gvillena

Certain locations are known all over the world for their biggest pastime. Las Vegas and gambling. Hawaii and surfing. New York City and sitting in traffic. And of course Nashville and country music. As anyone who has ever visited will tell you, country music is the soul of Nashville. To visit Music City even briefly and not experience its musical side -- even if, like myself, you are not a fan of country music -- is akin to heresy. Between history, food and nightlife there is something musical here for everyone, so c'mon and join me on a whirlwind tour of the authentic Nashville.

The Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee

This is where it all began. The Grand Ole Opry is the weekly country music radio show. It has run for 90 years and all of country's greatest have graced its stage at some point in their career. As such, a visit to the Grand Ole Opry House on the outskirts of Nashville is a must for all first-time visitors. It will give you a sense of the history and spirit of country music. The offer daytime and post-show tours, as well as a backstage VIP special for the serious country music fans. After all, in the words of Garth Brooks: "No offense at all to the people sitting in the seats, but the real show is backstage. That's the Opry."

Bluebird Cafe

The famous Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee

This unique little café is as known for their food as for their music. For over 30 years the Bluebird Cafe has been a favorite among Nashville locals, however few visitors stumble upon this hidden gem. It is the perfect place to enjoy an evening meal and an intimate show from one of Nashville's countless talented musicians. Of course due to the small size of the place, it's best to call ahead or place a reservation via their web site.

Legends Corner

Outside of Legends Corner on Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee

Now that you are well-fed, throw on your cowboy hat and dancing boots and get ready to go honky-tonkin' on Broadway, another Nashville must for first-timers. The giant ten foot guitar marks the home of Legends Corner, the perfect place to start a night out. Over repeated trips to Music City I've found that this bar consistently has the best live music and the strongest drinks -- a winning combination!

The Stage on Broadway

The Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee

Located just a few doors down from Legends Corner, The Stage on Broadway not only has great music but the cheapest beer on all of Broadway too! Maybe that is why this place is the more popular of the two with younger crowd. They have nightly shows from Nashville locals, both veterans and up-and-comers, and don't stop rockin' until 3am. However the coolest thing about the Stage has to be their giant mural of country music stars past and present.

Ready to visit Nashville and get some country music in your life? Make sure to book a cheap Nashville hotel so that you can put the money saved towards honky-tonkin' the night away!

See More!   Nashville's Best Offbeat Sights & Activities

  flickr   //   Ron Cogswell 1 2   ckramer

As the sultry summer rolls in, the desire to travel peaks for many. According to a TripAdvisor survey, 67% of U.S. travelers are planning to embark on an international leisure trip this year. In 2014, only 50% of the travelers were reported taking one. The survey also revealed that 95% of travelers from the country have plans for a domestic trip this year.

The survey features 44,000 global responses from hotel sectors and travelers, including over 6,700 U.S. respondents. It also indicated that the travel budgets in the country are likely to average $8,700 in 2015. One quarter of the respondents in the U.S. are planning to keep their 2015 travel budget similar to last year, whereas 43% have plans to spend more and another 23% are anticipating cutbacks.

The TripBarometer "Global Travel Economy" report from TripAdvisor also names the “Top 5 Dream Destinations for U.S. Travelers” in 2015:

These are places that U.S. travellers said they would like to visit, if money is no object. But for many travelers money is an object and therefore we have created this list of 5 international budget vacation destinations:

1. Northern Italy

Since Italy is one of the top dream destinations of the U.S. travelers, we could not help but include it in our list. 2015 is indeed the year if you have always dreamt about visiting this land of art and ancient ruins. Expo Milano, from May 1 to Oct. 31, is expected to bring in over 20 million visitors to the country.

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Udine, Italy

But we are not just talking about big cities like Rome, Venice and Milan. There are several other breathtaking beautiful cities in Northern Italy that deserve all your attention. Visit the Roman Theatre in Aosta; the beautiful Lake Como; the magical seaport city of Trieste with its scenic Città Vecchia; the mediaval city of Udine and its Venetian-Gothic style buildings and castles, and hundreds of other tiny picturesque towns that are literally begging to be explored.

2. Tbilisi, Georgia

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If you are foodie and have budget constraints, visit this gourmet paradise this summer. The colorful Georgian life of Tbilisi awaits you. Don’t forget to savor a healthy portion of their scrumptious meat dumplings (locally known as khinkhali) and khackapuri, which is the Georgian equivalent to the pizza and wash it down with some of the finest rich red wine. You will be surprised to know that the tradition of wine growing in Georgia goes back to 6000 BC and the country has some interesting grape varieties.

Apart from being a gourmet paradise, Tbilisi has a rich history. This ancient city was founded in the 5th century and has been rebuilt 29 times. For all the history buffs, the city offers an exotic mix of classical, medieval, Art Deco and Soviet structures.

Explore the 4th century Persian citadel, the churches and museums all day through and relax in the steam of the famous sulphur baths in the Old Town. The summer weather makes it a perfect vacation destination and its insanely low holiday prices are added bonus.

3. Bali, Indonesia

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Sunset in Bali, Indonesia

This Pacific paradise has good news for budget travellers this year: hotel prices in Bali are down 12 percent, as per Hotel Price Index. The Island of the Gods is popular for its distinctive black sand beaches and rugged coastlines. If you are inclined to it, enjoy the island’s world-class surfing and diving and explore the jungle interior that houses 10,000 picturesque temples (including the renowned hillside temple Pura Luhur Batukau) and volcanoes.

Take a walk around Ubud, the Balinese bustling metropolis, to explore its stunning royal palace and soak your soul in the heavenly gamelan music; the traditional local market is a shopper’s paradise.

If you want a laid-back vacation, the hotel pools are great places to laze around. After all Bali, with its natural beauty, cultural attractions and unique music, is a place to sooth your mind and body into a state of perfect relaxation.

4. İzmir, Turkey

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If you think Istanbul is the only place to visit in Turkey, İzmir will stun you with its liberal and laid-back feel. Located along the Central Aegean coastline, this historic and happening port city lives by its seafront kordon. Visit the hip bars in the Alsancak District or its collective art exhibition spaces if you want to experience İzmir’s distinct culture.

June is a great time to visit the city when it hosts the International Izmir Festival, where you can enjoy classical and contemporary ballet, music and theatre performances. The city with its Mediterranean Europe atmosphere is a chic alternative to other popular and more expensive Turkish destinations.

5. Porto, Portugal

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Porto or Oporto is one of the most charismatic cities of Europe. In fact, you won’t find another European budget spot finer than this second largest metropolis of Portugal. The motto of this picturesque city, where Port Wine was named and originated, is: “You’ve tried the wine; now try the city!”

The Ribeira Square, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and lies next to the Douro River, is the place to start off. Enjoy the art of people watching from a quiet corner while sipping your morning ‘bica’, which is the Portuguese espresso. The Crystal Palace Gardens are just a short walk away from the Ribeira Square where you can see roaming peacocks along with other love birds. Head towards the Romantic Museum or explore the city’s renowned architects.

Don’t forget to indulge in the culinary feast of a classic Porto lunch, the ‘Francesinha’, a meat-delight served with layers of various meats and melted cheese and drenched in tomato sauce. It is served with a chilled Portuguese beer.

The romantic Porto awaits you this summer with its intriguing and majestic beauty for that ultimate budget European vacation.

A Final Word

While these are some of the best international budget holiday destinations you can think of this summer, you can further cut the cost by opting for a budget hotel and bargained deals instead of staying in a luxury resort. Whether you are looking to explore a royal European city or relax on the beach, we have tried to include vacation options for every budget and taste.

  flickr   //   cmichel67   vshioshvili   kailehmann   ligthelm

Florence is a romantic and timeless city, rich in historical and cultural significance. Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael and Donatello (no, not the Mutant Teenage Ninja Turtles -- the famous artists from the 1400's) all help put Florence on the map. For hundreds of years, the city was a cultural and economic powerhouse known for its artwork. Nowadays this city is one of Italy's most romantic destinations and a must for all couples traveling to Tuscany. For all those traveling with their favorite furry family members, these are the most romantic pet-friendly hotels in all of Florence.

Grand Hotel Minerva

Centrally located in one of Florence's most historic and beautiful neighborhoods, many of Florence's best-known tourist attractions are only a few minutes walk from Grand Hotel Minerva. Of course, as the hotel itself is immaculately furnished with modern elegance that makes it near impossible to leave, good luck seeing any of these sights. You will be too busy basking in the view from the sixth-floor terrace with a cocktail or going for a swim in the elegant pool.

Hotel Londra

The hotels in Florence tend to either have a classical or über modern theme and furnishings, and Hotel Londra is a prime example of one of the latter. Everything about this hotel will have you savoring the modern Florence and all it will be in the future, instead of tripping down memory lane.

Hotel Albani Firenze

For those looking to escape some of the crowds and find a nice quiet hotel, look no further than Hotel Albani Firenze. Tucked away in the northern part of Santa Maria Novella, the Albani is conveniently located near the train station while still being within walking distance of Florence's most celebrated sites. Plus the hotel staff is more than happy to help arrange pet-sitting services for any guests that wish to explore the city on their own.

Grand Hotel Baglioni

Calling this hotel "grand" is like calling the Grand Canyon just a "valley." The Grand Hotel Baglioni is in fact nothing short of breathtaking. It was once the home of a prince and still maintains a strong and luxurious royal elegance throughout the property. The rooms, however, have been given a slightly modern touch, including the availability of anti-allergy rooms.

Plaza Hotel Lucchesi

Located near the Arno river, the Plaza Hotel Lucchesi is one of the most affordable boutique four-star hotels in Florence. In addition to being romantic and pet-friendly, it is only a short stroll to Florence's most iconic attraction, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore -- otherwise known as The Duomo.

Firenze Number Nine

Internationally known as one of Florence's most luxurious and romantic hotels, many do not realize that the Firenze Number Nine is also pet-friendly. Here guests are treated like kings, and no request big or small goes overlooked. If you want to experience the best Florence accommodations available, the Firenze Number Nine should be your only choice.

  flickr //   chris-yunker

California is known around the world as being a mecca for forward-thinking movements and people, but San Francisco in particular stands out from the rest of the state. The city is a hotbed of art and independence, as well as being the home to countless green movements and corporations. As such it should be no surprise that the hotels in San Francisco are likewise amazing and unique. The next time you are passing through San Fran, be sure to check out these cool and quirky hotels lest you find yourself in another boring chain.

Hotel Tomo

Fusing that rustic California feel with a touch of Japanese is the intriguing Hotel Tomo, located in San Francisco's Japantown (no surprise there). This hotel is a gamer's paradise and the ideal destination for any Japanophiles. Throughout the hotel are subtle references to Japan, from anime to artwork, all decorated in the most tasteful of ways.

Phoenix Hotel

The cool and quirky Phoenix Hotel in San Francisco, California -- designed for musicians

Owned and managed by the same parent company as Hotel Tomo, the Phoenix Hotel has a strong musical theme that makes it perfect for any traveling rockers. Word on the street is that there are several well-known groups that always stay here when they have gigs in town. Might be worth booking a room just to see who you run into in the lobby.

Hotel des Arts

Is it an art gallery? Is it a hotel? I still don't know but definitely love it! The Hotel des Arts near Chinatown is a must for art lovers. Every wall of this hotel from lobby to bathroom is adorned with at least one piece of artwork, most of which are abstract but all of which are wildly captivating. A stay here will make you want to grab a spray can and hit the San Francisco streets.

Hotel Diva

Hotel Diva in San Francisco, California

One of the all around coolest boutique hotels in San Francisco is the Hotel Diva, of which you need not be to enjoy a stay here. With funky and stylish rooms unlike anything else you've ever seen in San Francisco (and that is saying a lot), this hotel is perfect for anyone with a quirky personality or design sense.

Hotel Mark Twain

Step back in time with this unique fusion of Mark Twain era life mixed with a dash of modern San Francisco charm and quirkiness. The Hotel Mark Twain stands apart from all other San Francisco hotels because it is simply a trip. From a larger than life photo of the man himself to the authentic retro outfits of the staff, guests here are swept away from the minute they enter the door. An obvious must for any fans of Mark Twain — but that should go without saying.

Hotel Triton

Hotel Triton in San Francisco, California

If color and vibrance are as mandatory to your daily life as oxygen is, then the Hotel Triton is where you want to be. Full of cool, crazy, colorful, and quirky designs, paintings, and artwork throughout the entire building, the Triton is a feast for all the senses.

See More       Offbeat Travel Guides   United States Travel Ideas

  flickr //   dlytle   pjmixer   jimnix

Houston is a more exciting city than most would expect. There are plenty of great outdoor activities during the summertime and plenty of offbeat sights and activities available year-round. Houston is also a great destination for foodies because the has a vast selection of quirky and delicious restaurants. The city is also home to an ample supply of kid-friendly and pet-friendly hotels. And while it is possible to travel Houston on a budget, the city is much more fun as a luxurious, romantic weekend getaway. With that in mind let's take a look at Houston's most luxurious hotels.

Four Seasons Hotel Houston

This five-star hotel is one of the nicest Four Seasons I have ever had the pleasure of staying at. Centrally located right in downtown Houston, the museum district is nearby as are countless shops and restaurants. Of course leaving the hotel will be difficult. The Four Seasons Houston is home to one of the best spas in town. In addition to relaxing in the sauna or whirlpool, you can also pamper yourself with a variety of options, including massages, manicures, pedicures, facials and body treatments. They also offer couples services, perfect for that romantic getaway. As for the rooms, they are tastefully decorated with a modern, elegant Texan charm and each come with a wonderful city view and twice daily room service.

Hotel Granduca

Designed to resemble an Italian villa, the Hotel Granduca is one of the most iconic and beautiful hotels in all Houston. Of course the beauty doesn't stop on the exterior. Inside guests will be surrounded by the sights and charm of old Italy while being treated with impeccable service by the staff. Designed by Italian-born developer Giorgio Borlenghi, the five-star Hotel Granduca is his crowning achievement. In addition to the plush gardens and a gorgeous courtyard, the hotel comes complete with an authentic Italian restaurant, Ristorante Cavour, serving the finest Northern Italian cuisine. The rooms come in a variety of options, each more luxurious than the last, however all exude a modern Italian warmth that guests have come to expect. They also cater to guests looking for longer stays, especially convenient for anyone traveling to Houston for medical reasons. And for anyone who wants to live like a king, the Granduca's largest suite is a three bedroom Tuscan-inspired villa that will leave you speechless.

St. Regis Houston

With a level of opulence that is unrivaled by any other hotel in town, the St. Regis takes the gold medal as the premiereHouston hotel for the discerning traveler. Their smallest rooms start at 500 square feet (bigger than the studio apartment I had in college) and their largest suite is a whooping 2,500 square feet -- bigger than my house before I became a nomad! Inlaid wood, plush carpet, a desk and work area in every room, spacious bathrooms, granite countertops, state-of-the-art appliances and electronics, as well as an extraordinary view of that magnificent Houston skyline. Yes, St. Regis truly has it all, including a great location just far away enough from downtown to be peaceful without being inconvenient.

See More       Offbeat Travel Guides   United States Travel Ideas

Vienna is rich in both food and culture, but there is much more than that driving tourists here. Overwhelming history. Amazing coffee. Excellent shopping. Countless nearby vineyards. As Austria's capital and largest city, there is something for everyone here. That is undoubtedly part of the reason the city has become a favorite of so many travelers throughout Central Europe. However, for all you first-timers out there, I've got a few tips and suggestions for you.

Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

Visit During the Summer

Summers in Vienna are surprisingly pleasant and as a result there is always a plethora of outdoor gatherings, open-air film festivals, farmers' markets, and other events going on. It's also more enjoyable to sit outside while you eat, breathing the fresh air and taking the opportunity to do a bit of people-watching.

Of course if it's the cold weather you want to experience, Vienna is an impeccable Christmas destination. From late November onward there is an ample selection of Christmas markets to be found all around town, much like there is in Germany.

Eat Your Way Around Town

Restaurants throughout Vienna tend to offer a staggering amount of dishes, most of which are pretty delicious. However, before dining at a restaurant, the first food you must try upon arriving in Austria is a Frankfurter. Regardless of what part of town your are in, within a short walk you will encounter a small street-side sausage stand.

Frankfurter from a Würstlstand in Vienna, Austria

They are known locally as "Würstlstand" and the best way to get a quick, authentic, and tasty sausage for cheap. Enjoy a traditional plain Frankfurter, the Burenwurst (with bacon), Käsekrainer (with cheese), or my personal favorite, Bosna (with onions and curry).

Stop and Enjoy the Beans

There is a strong coffee culture throughout Austria, but most especially in Vienna. Of course when I say coffee, I do not mean Starbucks. Although the chain can be found in the city, it is best to be avoided at all cost. Instead opt for a local cafe or coffeehouse, both of which are in plentiful supply throughout the city.

Coffee in Vienna, Austria

Coffee in Austria is a very leisurely event. Don't ask for your coffee to go. Take your time, savor the moment. Bring a book or a laptop or even a friend. Have a bit to eat with your coffee. And if your waiter/waitress comes across as a bit rude or snooty, don't let it get to you. That's a perfectly normal response to strangers. As a local friend explained to me, "You have to be rude at first, before you can be cordial. It's just how we do things."

Stroll the City

Walking aimlessly around the cobblestone streets of Vienna is an enjoyable pastime as well. It truly is a gorgeous city, full of beautiful streets and spectacular architecture. This is a must for any photography, history, or architecture buffs. Or if you want to add an educational aspect to your journey, consider taking a guided walking tour and learning more about the buildings you are marveling over.

Hofburg, Vienna, Austria

  Have any other suggestions?

  flickr // rejik   gastev   twang_dunga   pedrosz

Few Caribbean destinations are as spectacular as Punta Cana, the furthermost eastern point of the Dominican Republic. The name means "Tip of the White Cane Palms" and from the minute visitors arrive it is easy to see why: Punta Cana is where the palm trees and beautiful blue of the Caribbean Sea converge together in the most pristine white sand beaches you will find anywhere. Hundreds of resorts are located here and choosing the right one can be difficult, so I've put together a guide on all the best Punta Cana hotels no matter what type of vacation you are looking for:

Romantic Getaway

Majestic Colonial resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

When it's time to whisk the love of your life away for a romantic Caribbean vacation, The Reserve at Paradisus Punta Cana is arguably the best destination in all the Dominican Repbulic. Their spacious and luxurious suites are second to none. However what truly makes them the ideal place for a romantic rendezvous is the private in-suite whirlpools.

Family-Friendly Retreat

Majestic Colonial resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

When taking your family to a tropical paradise like Punta Cana, it's important to stay at a hotel that is the epitome of "tropical paradise." The Majestic Colonial is one of the most pristine and impressive hotel resorts that I have ever seen. Immaculate grounds, breathtaking views, helpful staff, and of course plenty of children's activities to keep the little ones amused all come standard. However my personal favorite is the overwhelming choice of food; nearly every type of cuisine imaginable can be found in the restaurant!

All-Inclusive Fun

The only thing that makes paradise better is not having to deal with any bothersome restaurant or bar bills. Plus there is nothing quite like the thrill of an open bar or never-ending buffet, two things that quickly become clear to those staying at Barceló Bávaro Beach, one of the top-rated all-inclusive luxury resorts in Punta Cana.

Majestic Colonial resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Beyond their obligatory beaches and pools lies everything that guests could ever need: fitness center, casino, multiple bars and restaurants, golf course, even babysitting services. Wrap it all up with a bit of Punta Cana sun and a warm, friendly staff and it's no wonder that the worst part about Barcelo Bavaro is actually leaving.

Nothing But The Best

When only the finest all-inclusive five star luxury will do, look no further than Iberostar Grand Bavaro Hotel. This award-winning hotel resort is consistently ranked as one of the best resorts in all the Domican Republic. A sprawling complex of buildings, beaches, pools and palm trees, Iberostar Grand Bavaro is large enough that even when fully booked the property never feels crowded.

Majestic Colonial resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Budget-Friendly Options

Although Punta Cana is not what one would describe as a budget travel destination, there are several budget-friendly options available that will allow visitors to enjoy paradise without breaking the bank. Backpackers will feel right at home in the Punta Cana Hostel, which has a community kitchen, restaurant, bar and pool. among other amenities. Another great option is the Hotel Cortecito Inn Bavaro with beach-side views and complimentary breakfast.

  flickr //   sackerman519   ianbruce   dbrekke   drewott

Philadelphia is both a historic and offbeat city. There is something here to satisfy all visitors, whether they're searching for art, food, history, sports or nightlife. Unfortunately, however, not all Philadelphia hotels are for everyone. If you plan to visit the City of Brotherly Love with a pet, make sure to stay at one of these pet-friendly Philadelphia hotels.

Palomar Philadelphia, A Kimpton Hotel

The staff at Palomar Philadelphia love pets so much that they don't even charge a deposit. They have home-baked dog treats, too. How awesome is that? This stylish, modern hotel is one of the highest rated in all of Philadelphia and located right in the center of town. In other words, it's exactly where you want to be. All of the best sights from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall to the Philly Pretzel Factory are located just a short stroll away.

Loews Philadelphia Hotel

The Loews Philadelphia Hotel loves pets. They do. They really do.

Loews Philadelphia Hotel has a unique claim to fame: it is located in the first skyscraper ever built in Philadelphia. It's also rated as one of the world's best hotels by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. The spacious and elegant rooms will leave you impressed while your four-legged companion indulges in homemade snacks and goodies in the welcome package. The discerning traveler need not look anywhere other than Loews. There is a $35 pet fee per room, but the discerning traveler obviously shouldn't worry about that.

Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill Hotel

Sheraton has several Philadelphia properties, all of which are pet-friendly. The Sheraton Society Hill, however, is the brand's most popular and well-reviewed location. Located on the Delaware River in the historic part of town, Society Hill perfectly blends the historic and modern styles of Philadelphia in a way that makes guests feel immediately at home. Pets will feel right at home as well, thanks to the comfortable and quiet rooms. The best part is that there are no pet fees.

The Westin Philadelphia

Located right in the heart of the city, the Westin Philadelphia is known by travelers the world over as a modern and luxurious hotel chain. The Philadelphia location is no different. The clean, comfortable rooms have fast Wi-Fi, movie channels, and even a kids menu if necessary. Unfortunately there aren't any pet menus, but the hotel does offer a pet goodie bag upon check-in. There's a $50 pet fee per room, and the hotel only allows dogs, not cats.

The Rittenhouse

Rivaling Loews as the most luxurious hotel in Philadelphia, The Rittenhouse comes standard with plush beds, marble bathrooms, and breathtaking views of the Philadelphia skyline, as well as the gorgeous Rittenhouse Square park. Other amenities include everything you should expect from a five-star hotel ranked as one of the best in the world by Conde Nast Traveler. Thankfully it's possible for you to spoil your pet and treat it to the same luxury on the road as it's used to at home. There are no pet fees here, either.

With so many accommodating hotels, Philadelphia is a great destination for you and your pet. Stay in luxury and enjoy your visit to this fun city.

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