Valentine’s Day: A Guide for Solo Travellers in London

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Picture: Davide D’Amico

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a lonely experience for solo travellers. Backpackers arriving in London can save a fortune booking a low cost hostel and partying hard. There is no need to book a fancy restaurant or shower your loved one with expensive presents.

Being a solo traveller is brilliant on holiday; you can wake up with whoever you want, or no one at all. You can stay up all night and return to your hostel and play on Tinder until dawn. London is the perfect city for a solo traveller looking for love on holiday.

London Night Out

Europe’s largest metropolis is a brilliant place to explore on your travels. Glittering with amazing clubs and beautiful singletons, London is the reason why you should roam free on Valentine’s Day. Book your holiday now and fall in love with bright young things.

Solo Clubbing in London

Bounce Ping Pong

Bounce Anti-Valentine’s Day Party

Romantic love is banned at London’s leading ping pong club. Forget kisses and sharing pudding in a crowded restaurant, table tennis is miles better and it only costs a fiver to get in.

The Holborn venue will be lit with UV light sculptures (so the ping pong balls glow) and anyone caught kissing will be shamed by the ‘blacklight bouncers’. Book now to avoid disappointment.

Anti Valentine's Day Shoreditch

Anti-Valentine’s Friday 13th Bar Crawl 

If you want to hook up on holiday in London then look no further than the Shoreditch Pub Crawl. Book your ticket now and chat up hipsters in five Shoreditch bars whilst necking free shots and cheap drinks. A little party never killed nobody.

Bario East Party

St. Valentine’s Day Mezcal Masscare @ Bario East 

If you fancy kissing hipsters all night then look no further than Bario East in Shoreditch. With super hot DJs on standby, a tequila massacre is the perfect antidote to Valentine’s Day.

Open until 3am you have plenty of time to smuggle a hottie back to your hostel! Just make sure your fellow travellers aren’t kept awake all night on the top bunk…

Bohemian City Late at the Museum of London

Bohemian City Late at the Museum of London

Celebrating London’s bohemian soul and England’s greatest detective, the Museum of London is hosting a late night opening on Valentine’s Day. Absinthe will be served all night long accompanied by circus performers.

Come and explore their Sherlock Holmes exhibition and dance all night to a 13-piece Balkan brass ensemble Trans-Siberian Marching Band. 

Where to stay in London 

The Dictionary

  • The Dictionary is Shoreditch’s leading boutique hostel and captures the edgy spirit of East London with aplomb. Rooms are available from €21.94.
  • Smart Camden Inn Hostel is a trendy budget hostel in North London, right next to Camden’s rock’n’roll pubs and food markets. Rooms are available from €18.98.
  • Clink261 is a boutique hostel wonderfully located in the heart of Kings Cross. Rooms are available from €28.98.
  • Wombat’s City Hostel London is a boutique low cost hostel situated only a few metres away from Tower Bridge. Rooms are available from €26.30.

Budget Travel Tips for the Rio Carnival

Rio Carnival 2015

As the world’s most famous Carnival celebration, Rio de Janeiro is a popular destination for budget travellers in February. Rio Carnival is one of life’s greatest hedonistic festivals. Something you must do at least once on your travels.

Expect half-naked women, toucan birds and crazy men dancing until dawn. You don’t have to pay a premium to party in Rio either. Backpackers arriving in Brazil can stay in some excellent Rio hostels right next to Copacabana Beach.

With up to five million people attending each year, the samba festival is a week-long celebration of parades, parties and dancing.

Alternative Parades in Rio 

Rio Carnival Street Party

Carnival takes place 46 days before Easter in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday. Rio’s main events take place over five days from Friday 13th to Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), and include both spontaneous parades and sexy dancing.

The 2015 festival will run from February 13 to the 18th. With Carnival fast approaching, the legendary Sambadrome parades are likely to sell out pretty soon, but a smart traveller knows the Avenida Rio Branco parades are free of charge!

Free Street Parties in Rio 

Rio Carnival 2015 Street Party

Free street parties are called ‘blocos’ in Rio and they take place in more than a hundred neighbourhoods every day, at no extra charge. “O cordão do bola preta” is the most important bloco and alongside “Suvaco de Cristo”, which takes place below the Christ the Redeemer statue.

Sexy and spontaneous blocos capture the riotous spirit of the Rio Carnival. Everyone is welcome and the dancing can go on till late at night.

Rio de Janeiro Carnival

Where to Stay in Rio

  • El Misti Hostel Leme is a super friendly hostel only a few metres walk away from Copacabana Beach. Rooms are available from €8.33.
  • El Misti Copacabana is a traditional Brazilian hostel with a gala atmosphere every night of the week. Rooms are available from €11.96.
  • Barra Guest House is an American style hostel situated in the heart of Rio de Janeiro. Rooms are available from €25.72.
  • Caipihostel is a quality backpacker hostel offering budget travellers a cheap place to crash in the heart of Rio. Rooms are available from €11.87

How to Experience Carnival Like a Venetian

Picture: AP

Venice Carnival is the most romantic and theatrical in the world. Capturing the hearts and minds of travellers for centuries, wearing masks has always been more than a party for Venetians. It’s a deeply felt tradition and one that lives on today.

Walking around in fancy dress in spooky and macabre masks is the closest you’ll get to live in eighteenth century Venice.

Venice Carnival Experience

With a surprising number of boutique hostels and low cost hotels available, you can have a fabulous time on a budget in Venice. Furthermore, if you avoid the crowded tourist spots and experience Carnival like a Venetian then it will be even more spectacular.

Putting on a mask means taking liberties: love affairs, shady deals and going places without being seen. The Venice Carnival is about letting yourself go and transgressing.

“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” – Oscar Wilde

Main Events at Carnival

Carnevale di Venezia 2014

Carnival takes place from January 31 – February 17th and is offering a double event to get the party started this year.

Carnevale di Venezia 2014

  • Saturday 7th February is all about “Festa delle Marie”and recreates the Venetian Doge tribute to twelve Venetian girls, whom he would offer beautiful jewels as a bridal dowry.
  • The parade starts at San Piero di Castello at 2.30 pm until it arrives at St Mark’s Square at 16.00 pm, where the twelve “Marias” will be introduced to the crowd waiting for them.
Picture: Alamy

Venice’s atmospheric dockyards, Arsenale, will host the second annual “Arsenal nights” during the 2015 Venetian Carnival. 

From the 7th to the 8th of February and 12th to the 17th February, Arsenale will host a stunning light show concluding with a fireworks display on the quayside.

Food and Drink in Venice

Picture: Zack Keller

Don’t spoil your holiday eating pizza in tourist restaurants. A wise traveller follows the locals and the best way to experience Venice is to eat ‘Cicchetti’.

Venetians start eating cicchetti over Spritz from early morning until midnight. Served in back street bars at the bàcari, it’s the Venetian equivalent of Spanish tapas. Costing as little €1 per bite, you can enjoy meat, seafood and vegetarian options.

Picture: Marco Secchi/Getty Images Europe

 

Local favourites include Polpetto in Umido (meatballs in a tomato sauce) or Polpetto Tonno (tuna) and more adventurous travellers may be tempted to try octopus, cuttlefish or freshly salted sardines.

Where to stay in Venice

Generator Hostel Venice

  • Generator Venice is a trendy hipster hostel situated on the island of Giudecca opposite Doge Palace. Brilliant for solo travellers and flashpackers. Rooms are available from €21.75.
  • Le Repubbliche Marinare is a gloriously refurbished ‘B&B’ only a few metres walk from the Grand Canal. Situated in a sleepy Venetian back street, it retains a quiet local feel away from the tourist crowds. Rooms are available from €39.74.
  • Hotel Lux is only a few metres walk from St.Mark’s Square and offers guests a modern and stylish place to relax after partying over Carnival. Rooms are available from €27.86.
  • La Pescheria Backpackers is situated in the heart of Rialto and is perfect for young backpackers wanting to party in Venice for the first time. Rooms are available from €27.87.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife – Hottest Carnival in Europe

Tenerife Carnival Future

Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the second largest Carnival in the world. Famous for its cross-dressing dancers and hot glamour models, there are fun times to be had before Ash Wednesday.

Bring your feathers and throw some beads in the Canary Islands this February. Attracting visitors looking for a good time on vacation, Tenerife has plenty of low cost hostels and boutique hotels available.

Picture: AFP/GETTY

Carnaval de Santa Cruz de Tenerife comes second only to Rio de Janeiro and is perfect for party goers on a budget. It’s celebrated in every town and village on the island, but the hottest Carnival celebrations take place in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Puerto de la Cruz.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival

The ‘Carnival Of The Future’ will be running from February 11th – 21st, and travellers are encouraged to book their tickets well in advance. Taking place 40 days before Easter, Carnival is the final party before Ash Wednesday and Lent.

How to enjoy Carnival in Tenerife

On the opening night, there is the election of the Carnival Queen. The winner is crowned during a spectacular gala in which hundreds of amateur performers take part: these performers are the glamour quotient of Carnival.

During this glittering show, ‘Carnival Queen’ candidates are paraded on stage dressed in fantastic costumes.

Picture: Philippe Teuwen

The festivities start before Carnival Tuesday (Mardi Gras, or Shrove Tuesday) with a flamboyant opening parade and climaxes with thousands of revellers dancing until dawn.

The partying continues until Ash Wednesday and on that day Santa Cruz de Tenerife residents celebrate the “entierro de la sardina” (burial of the sardine), and declare Carnival officially over.

Tenerife Carnival Entierro de la Sardina

Fortunately, the festivities start again the following weekend and this is known as the “piñata”. Carnival is a hot experience for travellers looking to have a good time over February. Guaranteed to get the heart pumping and samba girls dancing, there is nowhere better to celebrate life than Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Where to stay in Tenerife 

Acd Tenerife Surf House

  • Acd Tenerife Surf House is a super friendly hostel situated in in the south of Tenerife. Rooms are available from €13.00 per person.
  • Friendly Rooms is a sunny outgoing hostel less than 200 metres from the main bus station. Perfect for young travellers arriving in Tenerife for the first time. Rooms are available from €22.37 per person.

Nice Carnival – Glamour, Sun and Culture on a Budget

Nice Carnival 2015

The Nice Carnival attracts thousands of backpackers to the French Riviera each year. Held every February, the Lent carnival may seem like a decadent playground for rich people.

Wealth comes naturally in this part of the world, but the French city has a large number of budget hostels and cheap hotels available.

Nice is surprisingly affordable if you look beyond its luxury image. Backpackers can enjoy fresh local cuisine and delicious wine on a budget in southern France. It’s no more expensive than Spain or Italy. Also it has some fantastic museums and cheap public transport too.

Furthermore, the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle and sunshine won’t cost you a thing!

PROMENADE DU PAILLON

Situated on the glittering beaches of the Mediterranean, the Nice Carnival is the social highlight of the Cote d’Azur. From its medieval origins in the 13th century, it has now become a glorious twelve day party running from 13 February – 1 March 2015.

As the largest winter event on the French Riviera, the Carnival now attracts one million visitors each year. Celebrated across the world 40 days before Easter, Carnival is the final party before Ash Wednesday and Lent.  Nice’s celebration culminates with its Mardi Gras on the last day.

The Battle of Flowers

The Battle of Flowers Nice Carnival

Bataille de Fleurs takes place on various days throughout the Nice Carnival. Floats will throw freshly cut flowers into the crowd as they make their way along the Promenade des Anglais.

Nice Carnival Parade Of Lights

Nice Carnival Parade Of LightsTaking place throughout the carnival at night time, the Parade of Lights is one of the highlights of the French winter season.

Nice Carnival Mardi Gras

Nice Carnival Parade
Picture: REUTERS

Around 30 floats take centre stage during the Mardi Gras using around 50 giant puppets (grosses tetes or big heads) in a spectacular parade. Street theatre and music groups from all over the world take part in the daytime and evening festivities.

Come nightfall, the parade floats are illuminated making it a glorious spectacle and brilliant entertainment for everyone with a ticket.

Where to stay in Nice

Hotel Residence Comte De Nice

  • Villa Saint Exupery Beach is a stylish hostel only 50 metres from Nice’s gorgeous beach front and the Old Town. Rooms are available from €16.00 per person.
  • Hostel Paradis is situated just a few yards from the beach front and is surrounded by fantastic restaurants and luxury shops. Rooms are available from €13.44 per person.
  • Hotel Du Centre is a private friendly hotel only a few metres from the train station. Rooms are available from €19.35 per person.
  • Hotel Residence Comte De Nice is a family run hotel with simple modern furnishings. Rooms are available from €24.52 per person.

Binche Carnival – A Belgium Celebration on a Budget

Belgium
Francois Lenoir/Reuters

The Binche Carnival, Carnaval de Binche, is one of Belgium’s most popular street parties. Taking place a few miles south of Brussels, the UNESCO World Heritage event, is now recognised as one of the biggest carnivals in Europe.

Perfect for budget travellers looking to have an extravagant time in Belgium, there are plenty of low cost hostels available in nearby Brussels.

Always a colourful occasion and tremendous fun, Binche will be full of medieval costumes and beer tents over Lent. Shrove Sunday and Fat Tuesday are the best days to attend the carnival.

It’s important to book your hostel early if you want to experience one of Belgium’s craziest street festivals. The Binche Carnival is globally recognised as a ‘must see’ event by travellers. Taking place 40 days before Easter, the festival is a final party before Ash Wednesday and Lent.

Gilles Binche Carnival
Picture: Louis Weckx

As the biggest annual event in Belgium, the Binche Carnival starts on the Mardi Gras (Shrove Sunday). Dating back to the Middle Ages, the highlight of the carnival is watching the Gilles of Binche parade outside the City Hall.

Up to 1,000 Gilles will be parading in the city centre, wearing outrageous medieval costumes hung with bells and decorated with camp fluffy laces.

Binche Carnival Orange Tossing

Be warned the Gilles are not exactly harmless! In keeping with tradition the Gilles throw oranges at the crowd on the Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). Local shops usually cover up their windows during the carnival season, as things can get pretty squishy over Lent.

It might be tempting to toss one back, but tradition forbids you from doing so. Instead, turn the other cheek and have a few local brews in some of the town’s massive beer tents.

Binche Carnival Beer

Only half an hour away from Brussels, the carnival takes place this year from February 15th and 17th. Apart from the festivities, Binche is an attractive market town with a thunderous medieval city wall dotted with 27 towers.

They are considered to be the best preserved ramparts in the Benelux district. Meanwhile it also has a pretty town square embellished with a Renaissance town hall and belfry.

Where to stay in Brussels

Theater Hotel Brussels

  • Brussels Hello Hostel is a super friendly hostel only three minutes from the city by subway. Perfect for young travellers looking for a clean and relaxing stay in Belgium. Rooms are available from €18.73.
  • Hostel Grand Place is known locally as Brussels’ best located hostel. Situated in the heart of the city centre, it’s perfect for backpackers and low cost travellers. Rooms are available from €18.73.
  • The Theater Hotel Brussels is a charming boutique venue situated in the city centre. Rooms are available from €23.63.
  • MEININGER Hotel Brüssel City Center is a designer friendly hostel with superb modern facilities. Perfect for the upmarket flashpacker. Rooms are available from €24.05.

How to survive the Cologne Carnival on a Budget

Cologne Carnival

The Cologne Carnival is Germany’s answer to the Mardi Gras. It’s perfect for budget travellers wanting to go local on holiday and has plenty of boutique hostels and low cost hotels available. Rivalling the flamboyant carnivals of Venice and Rio, the Germans love to celebrate Ash Wednesday in their own inimitable style.

Famous for its glorious twin-spired cathedral, the Kölner Dom, and riverside views, Eau de Cologne, the German city is one of the youngest in Europe. With a third of its population aged between 18 and 35, there is nowhere better to order a Kölsch beer from one of their incredible 24 breweries.

Cologne Carnival Procession

Flowing with beer and outrageous costumes, the fancy dress carnival takes place on February 12 before Lent climaxes on Rosenmontag (‘Rose Monday’ – the 42nd day before Easter). Locals will throw candy and sing in their unique Cologne dialect throughout the “crazy days” procession.

You can expect to see wacky costumes on your travels in Cologne. Getting drunk with grown men dressed up as giant butterflies and women as elves is part of the experience! Furthermore, the Cologne Carnival is remarkably cheap too with all major events free of charge.

Cologne Cathedral

Essential Dates

Cologne Celebration

Women’s Carnival Day (Weiberfastnacht): 12th February

Arrive early in the morning and the streets will be alive with women in fancy dress on their way to work. At 11am the Street Carnival is officially opened at the Alter Markt by the three principal Carnival figures: the Prince, the Peasant and the Virgin.

Later in the day there will be masked balls and beer swilling parties*

Carnival Friday: 13th February

Survivors of the Weiberfastnacht will stumble around the city centre and will probably attend a few cafes in the brightly coloured Altstadt (Old Town).

Carnival Saturday: 14th February

Following a hearty Cologne “Frühschoppen” (breakfast) you should head for the “Funkenbiwak” at Neumarkt.

Photo: Martin Terber

Carnival Sunday: 15th February

Warm up parades begin through the city centre in fancy dress and outrageous costumes. More beer friendly parties take place in the evening.

Rose Monday (Rosenmontag): 16th February

The climax of the Carnival takes place with official parade. This is the big one folks. Expect people throw stuffed sweets (“Kamelle”), little bouquets of flowers (“Strüßjer”), pecks (“Bützje”). An estimated 1.5 million spectators in fancy dress attend the Carnival each year.

Carnival Tuesday (Veilchendienstag): 17th February

Further parades take place out in the suburbs of Cologne and parties continue all night long for those able to stay up.

Ash Wednesday (Aschermittwoch): 18th February

If you’re still standing after all those beers, then chill out with a traditional fish dinner in Cologne city centre.

*Closing times for pubs and bars are suspended for the duration of the festival. 

Where to stay in Cologne

MEININGER Hotel Cologne City Center

  • A&O Köln Neumarkt is a cheerful modern hostel located in the historic Mauritiusviertel district. Rooms are available from €26.59 per person.
  • A&O Köln Dom (HBF) is a quality hotel with modern furnishings only 100 metres from the Central Station and Cologne Cathedral. Rooms are available from €46.08.
  • MEININGER Hotel Cologne City Center is only 15 minute walk from the history city centre and offers cheap and affordable rooms to budget travellers. Rooms are available from €18.83.
  • Station Hostel For Backpackers is a Wi-Fi friendly hostel in central Cologne offering low cost travellers a perfect place to stay during Carnival. Rooms are available from €19.33.
  • Black Sheep Hostel is a cool alternative backpacker hostel only five minutes by foot from ‘Cologne South’ train station (Südbahnhof). Rooms are available from €22.52.

Best Places to Kiss on Valentine’s Day

Kissing on Valentines Day

Everyone wants to kiss someone beautiful on Valentine’s Day. Finding love on holiday is every traveller’s dream and millions of people will be looking for a midnight kiss on February 14th.

Book a romantic holiday now and let Cupid pull your heart strings. Europe is brimming with historic cities full of culture, and you can kiss tender lips wherever you decide to go.

From the ornate bridges of Venice to strolling along Lisbon’s cobblestoned alleys, here are a few of our favourite places to make out on Valentine’s Day.

Venice

Picture: Bruno Biancardi

Venice is a dreamboat destination for lovers on holiday. Explore the city’s secluded alleyways and stroll over some of the world’s most romantic bridges. La Serenissima is the loveliest city in the world and is perfect once the crowds have dipped away.

Grab your lover’s hand and steal a kiss on Accademia Bridge, while the sun rests over Santa Maria della Salute in the distance.

Where to Stay on Valentine’s Day in Venice

  • Hotel CaSa Linger Venice is a romantic choice in the historic Castello district of Venice. Private rooms are available from €20.25 per person.
  • Hotel Tre Archi is an eighteenth century hotel close to Venice’s ‘Three Arches’ and combines traditional Venetian architecture with a beautiful garden, a rare green oasis in Venice city centre. Private rooms are available from €20.00 per person.
  • Generator Venice is a hipster boutique hostel full of secluded private rooms if you’re in the mood for love. Private rooms are available from €15.00 per person.

Paris

Paris Kissing

Paris is a magical setting for young lovers and the most romantic city in the world. Unfortunately you can’t love-lock the Pont des Arts bridge anymore, but that doesn’t mean your relationship will collapse on holiday. On the contrary, the French capital’s ruby sunsets and sumptuous skyline will inspire you and your lover to stay up until dawn…

Where to Stay on Valentine’s Day in Paris

  • The Loft Boutique Hostel & Hotel is a stylish boutique hostel that captures the essence of modern French design. Private rooms are available from €32.98 per person.
  • Le Village Hostel is situated in one of the most picturesque areas of Paris. Private rooms are available from €25.45 per person.
  • Hotel Viator is perfect for Valentine lovers looking for a discreet and romantic getaway. Private rooms are available from €24.50 per person.

Rome

Picture: Jon Rawlinson

Sensual Rome is the true city of love in Europe. With its smouldering atmosphere and Roman ruins, the romantic possibilities are endless in the Eternal City. Book a holiday in Italy and explore the Temple of Venus and Rome and exchange hot kisses on the Spanish Steps.

Where to Stay on Valentine’s Day in Rome

  • A Casa Di Penelope is a sexy designer hostel perfect for lovers wanting some hipster fashion tips before going to bed. Private rooms are available from €33.30 per person.
  • Hotel Soggiorno Blu is wonderfully located close to Termini railway station, so there is no waiting around if you arrive in Rome come nightfall. Private rooms are available from €30.00 per person.
  • Cristina Hotel is the perfect getaway for a romantic weekend in Rome on a budget. Private rooms are available from €12.50 per person.

Lisbon

Portugal Romantic

Lisbon is a secretive city and undeniably beautiful. Come wander down the city’s cobbled alleyways and board one of their rickety yellow trams like it’s the 1920’s.

Where to Stay on Valentine’s Day in Lisbon

  • Unreal Hostel Lisboa is a funky new hostel and has plenty of private rooms awaiting some love on Valentine’s Day. Private rooms are available from €32.00 per person.
  • Oasis Backpackers Hostel Lisbon is a trendy hipster hostel in the heart of Lisbon. Undeniably cool and perfect for anyone wanting to hang out with fellow travellers. Private rooms are available from €25.00 per person.
  • Sao Pedro Lisbon Hotel offers guests a quiet and romantic place to unwind in Lisbon city centre. Private rooms are available from €39.00 per person.

San Francisco On A Hostel Budget

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco is one of America’s coolest destinations. With its rickety cable cars, boutique shops and hipster neighbourhoods, the Californian city is mecca for edgy bohemians. The gorgeous weather all-year-round puts everyone in a happy mood. First timers might be surprised to learn that San Francisco is a remarkably cheap place to explore on vacation.

With some hot tips you can dine on delicious street food and ethnic bites for cheap. The alternative nature of the city means there’s no shortage of art exhibits, festivals and parades, many of which are inexpensive or free. Book a cheap hostel in San Francisco today and start exploring California without breaking the bank.

Sights and Sounds of San Francisco

Fishermans Wharf San Francisco

Get up early and head over to Fisherman’s Wharf to watch the sea lions on Pier 39 and make sure you do it before the tourists arrive in their droves. Once you’re done then why not explore the 19th-century tall ships at the Maritime National Historic Park, before trying some Dungeness crab at a nearby restaurant.

If you prefer staying outdoors then bicycle rental shops are available all over the bay. From the Wharf you can cycle past major San Francisco attractions before arriving at the Golden Gate Bridge.

Afterwards you can explore the notorious Alcatraz Island and discover how the prisoners lived in Shutter Island conditions. Visitors can reach the island by ferry from Pier 33.

Alcatraz Island San Francisco

From whale-watching tours to crab restaurants, there are certainly no shortage of activities at Fisherman’s Wharf and it makes for essential viewing on any cable car tour of San Francisco. Remarkably cheap at $15 for a one-day travel pass you can climb the steep hills in a vintage fashion.

Downtown San Francisco

San Francisco Cable Car

With a cable-car pass you can hang out in San Fran’s coolest neighbourhoods such as Hayes Valley. The historic centre has a rustic boutique charm and is perfect for anyone wanting to go on a bike tour with Streets of San Francisco.

Likewise hipsters will love Mission District, which has a gritty Latin flavour and flowering bohemian coffee shops. Edgy, creative and decorated by street art murals, the district is full of galleries and taquerias.

Mission District Mural San Francisco

If you need to save money on vacation then San Francisco is brimming with food trucks and cheap eateries. From Mexican-Eritrean fusion to Indian burritos there is one thing you’ll never lack in California and that is street food.

Eating out in San Francisco

SoMa StrEat Food Park

If you’re on a tight budget then check out the SoMa StrEat Food Park on 11th Street. Operating as the city’s first permanent food truck pod you can choose from up to ten food trucks for lunch and dinner. Like all street food markets, it becomes an outdoor nightclub with regular DJ nights taking place throughout the year.

The G Food Lounge is popular with Facebook employees and is situated between Bryant and Harrison Street. Offering a multi-purpose street food service, you can eat out for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the South of Market (SoMa) neighbourhood. Rotating their food trucks everyday you’ll never get bored of eating out in California.

Where to Stay in San Francisco

Orange Village Hostel San Francisco

  • Orange Village Hostel offers low cost accommodation to budget travellers throughout San Francisco. Wonderfully located in the city centre, it’s perfect for exploring nearby boutique shops and major tourist attractions. Dorms are available from €22.
  • Green Tortoise Backpackers is super friendly and provides all guests with clean rooms, dorms and free Wi-Fi. It’s a great place to discover San Francisco on vacation and lies within walking distance of Fisherman’s Wharf. Dorms are available from €26.
  • USA Hostels San Francisco is a charming boutique hostel offering guests an exclusive range of privacy pods, theatre and a yoga room. With free Wi-Fi and breakfast included in the price, its a popular choice with the travelling community. Dorms are available from €31.
  • AAE Amsterdam San Francisco is super cheap and perfect for travellers on a tight budget. Always clean and providing guests with well kept dorms and rooms, the hostel is only a few blocks away from Union Square. Dorms are available from €17.

Winter in Washington

Washington Winter

Spending a winter vacation in Washington D.C. is more than just history and politics. The American capital will always draw visitors wanting to see The White House and Pentagon. But if you look closer you’ll discover a cosmopolitan and energetic city full of culture, nightclubs and rooftop bars.

Book a hostel in Washington D.C. this winter and see the big attractions, while shopping in boutique shops and drinking cocktails.

Washington DC Snow

Washington D.C. makes for an ideal winter destination and you can save big money staying in a hostel. Combine American political history with nightclubs, gastro cuisine and stunning parks. Wrap up warm this winter and explore the US capital while staying in a hostel.

What to see and do in Washington D.C.

National Mall Winter Christmas

History and Culture

From the Lincoln Memorial to The National Mall. A trip to Washington D.C. wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the White House. Ten of the capital’s museums are located within walking distance of the tree-aisled park. The Smithsonian Museums has some of America’s greatest museums lying within one mile of The National Mall.

Frank Underwood House of Cards

Washington D.C. is perfect for fans of the Netflix series House of Cards. Follow in Frank Underwood’s footsteps this winter and climb up the corridors of power while on vacation. Just remember there is but one rule: hunt or be hunted…

Food and Drink

Adams Morgan Washington

Eating out in Washington D.C. is great for budget travellers with fifties style Bens Chilli Bowl proving to be a popular choice. They are famous across the city for their spicy chilli dogs. If that doesn’t do the trick then why not eat like a senator for intern prices at the Good Stuff Eatery, serving delicious home made burgers to all guests.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Washington DC Nightlife

With its buzzy night life and gastro restaurants, Washington D.C. defies its politically stuffy image. Perfect for anyone wanting to have a big out night after sightseeing, the Adams Morgan area is the place to go for bars and restaurants. Head over to U-Street for some steamy jazz clubs or visit the Verzion Center for live music and exhibition shows.

Where to stay in Washington D.C.

Downtown Washington Hostel

  • Downtown Washington Hostel is an iconic place for travellers arriving in the US capital. Super friendly and with an excellent Wi-Fi connection, the hostel has a clean range of dorms and private rooms for backpackers. Dorms are available from €19.
  • DC Lofty is a modern boutique hostel situated close to the DuPont Circle. Clean, friendly and undeniably stylish, it’s a cultivated way to spend a weekend in America’s capital. Dorms are available from €19.
  • Hostelling International DC is a modern, eco-friendly hostel set in the heart of downtown Washington and is only eight blocks away from The White House. Dorms are available from €23.
  • Loftstel is a funky designer hostel in the heart of Washington. It offers clean rooms and dorms to all guests. Dorms are available from  €31.

Hipster New Year in Denver

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Denver is the hipster capital of Midwest America and makes for a spectacular place to visit over New Year. The Colorado city loves making things and recycling them into something cool. From gourmet farm cooking, craft beer bars and heritage clothing, Denver is one of the leading hipster cities in the world. Come and hang out in a city where looking cool is easy. The Mile High City had once been a ‘boom-or-bust’ gold town and the frontier city has plenty of hostels in stay in over New Year.

Are you travelling to Denver for New Year? Taking your fixie bike and hipster beard? Here are some quality tips of stuff to look out for while in Denver for the festive season.

What To See and Do In Denver at New Year 

Colorado State Capitol

What: Colorado State Capitol
Where: 200 E Colfax Avenue, Denver, Colorado

Why: If you want to do one cultural thing in Denver before hitting the craft beers then check out the Colorado State Capitol. The neo-classical masterpiece is like the White House but with less tourists hovering around the gates. Looking out across Civic Center Park, visitors can join free tours of the building every 45 minutes. The Colorado State Capitol is open to the public Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Downtown Denver

What: Lodo Historic District
Where: 1616 17th St #478, Denver, Colorado

WhyLoDo is Denver’s former warehouse district and has been tastefully restored for the modern age. Loved by hipsters for its gritty sense of authenticity, LoDo is home to craft beer pubs, restaurants and vegan cafes. Perfect for an afternoon stroll, Downtown Denver is bustling with new life and a joy to discover on foot.

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What: New Year’s Eve Fireworks in Downtown Denver
Where: 16th Street Mall, Denver, Colorado

Why: If you’re a proper hipster then you probably won’t even look at the fireworks because you’ll be downstairs in some vegan coffee shop. But if you’re a little more relaxed and enjoy coming together for the bells then Denver always puts on a glitzy show. Expect clowns, drunk couples taking selfies and a glorious riot of colour.

Craft Beer Denver

What: Craft Beer New Year
Where: Various Bars, Denver, Colorado

Why: With a love of craft beer and an excellent reputation for microbreweries and cafés, hipster travellers looking for a craft beer will have a great time in Denver. Thousands of beer lovers from across the Midwest make a trip to the Mile High City to sample their finest brews. Some of the city’s best bars include the Our Mutual Friend Malt and Brew (OMF),  a vintage brewery, hop garden and taproom located in the River North neighbourhood of Denver.

Not to be outdone Stem Ciders serves vintage ciders and the Denver Bicycle Cafe combines locally made beers, coffee and fixie bikes.

Hipsters of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains.

Where to Stay in Denver

  • AAE 11th Avenue Hostel offers newly renovated dorms and private rooms only a few blocks from the Colorado State Capitol and trendy craft beer pubs. Perfect for first-time arrivals in Denver, the Wi-Fi friendly hostel is a great place to hang out in Colorado. Dorms are available from €20.
  • AAE Denver Ramada offers a free Downtown shuttle serve and free Wi-fi to all guests. Exceptionally clean and offering great value for money,  this AAE Guesthouse provides private and dorm rooms for 1-4 people. Dorms are available from €22.