MONEY Travel

5 Things American Travelers Should Know If They’re Visiting Greece

Supporters of the NO vote in the upcoming referendum, gather during a rally at Syntagma square in Athens on Monday, June 29, 2015. Anxious Greek pensioners swarmed closed bank branches and long lines snaked outside ATMs as Greeks endured the first day of serious controls on their daily economic lives ahead of a July 5 referendum that could determine whether the country has to ditch the euro currency and return to the drachma.
Petros Karadjias—AP Supporters of the NO vote in the upcoming referendum, gather during a rally at Syntagma square in Athens on Monday, June 29, 2015.

Greece-bound tourists could be in for some hassles—or worse.

The crisis in Greece has caused the closure of local banks and brought about the worst day of the year in the U.S. stock market. Concerns are also being raised that the situation could ruin the vacations of tourists dreaming of exploring the culture, history, and warmth of Greece during the height of the summer season.

Here’s what travelers should keep in mind if they’re heading for Greece anytime soon.

Arrive with ample cash. Starting on Monday, banks in Greece were closed, and ATM withdrawals were being limited to €60 (around $67) for cards issued by Greek banks. Withdrawal restrictions don’t apply to foreign cards, but many ATMs have reportedly already been emptied and have no cash to dispense.

“Automated-teller machines are running dry and many businesses are no longer accepting credit cards,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

The bottom line is that the situation is fairly chaotic and very much in flux. Greece-bound tourists from Germany, the UK, Canada, Australia, and elsewhere have officially been given some variation of the warning to arrive with “sufficient euros in cash to cover the duration of your stay, emergencies, unforeseen circumstances, and any unexpected delays.” Ideally, bring cash in lots of smaller denominations, as it may be difficult for taxi drivers, restaurants, and other local businesses to provide change for big bills.

The advice of the U.S. Embassy in Greece is that Americans should have plenty of cash, and should certainly not rely on any single form of payment: “U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry more than one means of payment (cash, debit cards, credit cards), and make sure to have enough cash on hand to cover emergencies and any unexpected delays.”

Be extra vigilant. “The State Department recommends you maintain a high level of security awareness and avoid political rallies and demonstrations as instances of unrest can occur,” the U.S. Embassy states. “Exercise caution and common sense: Avoid the areas of demonstrations, and if you find yourself too close to a demonstration, move in the opposite direction and seek shelter.”

What’s more, pickpockets and thieves will surely be aware that tourists have been advised of the necessity of having plentiful cash on hand. So there will be extra reason for tourists to be targeted for theft. It goes without saying you shouldn’t stroll around casually with all of your cash in your purse or back pocket. Stash the bulk of it in the hotel safe, and divide walking-around cash among your party—ideally, safely kept in a money belt or neck wallet—perhaps with some emergency bills in the sole of your shoe. Don’t make it easy for pickpockets to rip you off.

Expect long lines and possible delays. There have already been huge lines at ATMs and supermarkets, with worried shoppers stocking up on essentials in the same way that Americans hoard milk and bread when a big snowstorm is in the forecast. There has also been plenty of speculation that strikes, demonstrations, and a squeeze on fuel could cause travel disruptions within Greece. So far, this has only amounted to speculation, and ferries, gas stations, and such have not been affected.

Tour operators are reporting (mostly) business as usual. “We were in touch with our hotel and our tour director earlier today, and both report that daily life is going on normally,” Tim Armstrong, a spokesman for the Tauck tour company, which had a group on a cruise just finishing up a three-night stay in Athens, said on Monday, according to the (Canada) Globe and Mail.

Likewise, Greek tourism officials maintain that the current events will have no impact on foreign visitors. “The tourists who are already here and those who are planning to come, will not be affected in any way by the events and will continue to enjoy their holiday in Greece with absolutely no problem,” said Elena Kountoura, Greece’s minister for tourism, according to the Independent. “It should be also noted that there is ample availability of both fuel and all products and services that ensure a smooth and fun stay for the visitors in every city, region and the islands.”

At least some of this seems like overstatement, considering that tourists and locals alike have already been affected by long lines. Credit and debit cards are still being accepted by most hotels and other businesses, but the fact that some are only accepting cash as payment is obviously another way that travelers are being affected.

Travel insurance probably won’t cover you if you cancel. If you’ve booked a vacation to Greece and purchased travel insurance for the trip, it may be time to look at the fine print. Most policies will reimburse a cancelled trip if there’s been a death in the immediate family, or if there’s been a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or large-scale civil unrest. But nothing that’s happening in Greece right now qualifies as a standard reimbursable situation.

“If you do cancel your trip it will be subject to the terms of the deal, and you stand to lose money,” one UK travel agent explained to the Guardian. Unless you’ve paid extra for a “cancel for any reason” upgrade to the insurance policy, in all likelihood your travel insurance would not cover you if you decide to cancel a trip to Greece right now.

Read next: What the Turmoil in Greece Means for Your Money

MONEY Travel

Fancy Resort Hotels Giveth … and Then Taketh Away

Hotel minibar
Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal Sent—Tribune Content Agency LLC via A

Behold the minibar.

I recently took my entire family — including my folks and the in-laws — to Scottsdale, Arizona for a little summer fun at a very posh desert resort.

Okay, perhaps I’m exaggerating just a tiny bit. Let’s call it fairly posh.

Regardless, one thing is certain: the resort is still fancier than a Holiday Inn Express. For example, it has honest-to-goodness living, breathing valets. They even greeted us warmly as we pulled up to the lobby — despite the fact we drove up in an old beat-up minivan that ended up looking more like a clown car after we opened the doors and everyone managed to finally stagger out.

Did I mention the resort also has many amenities? Uh huh. Spacious multi-room suites, a spa, a golf course, a nice swimming pool, bike riding, hiking trails and, of course, the obligatory bar with a couple of fancy pancy restaurants to boot.

I know what you’re thinking: Okay, Len, so who recently died and left you a small fortune? Well, the answer is nobody.

The fact is, because the average summertime temperature in Scottsdale is only a few degrees cooler than the surface of the sun, it’s not very hard to find resorts there offering accommodations between June and September for a song.

My family ended up getting several spacious guest rooms for $75 per night — the very same ones that normally go for $450 or more during the winter high season. Needless to say, it’s an incredible deal for those willing to brave the desert heat.

But while the resorts giveth they also taketh away.

For instance, consider one of the great mysteries of life: the in-room hotel mini-bar. Ours included a well-stocked goodie basket full of snacks, bottled water, and even a sleeve of three golf balls for duffers who wanted to stock their bag before hitting the course. But while the resort was practically giving their gorgeous suites away, their mini-bar prices were so far out of touch with reality that they bordered on price gouging.

I realize that this is no big revelation, folks, but still … check out these goodie basket prices:

  • Cheez-It crackers (1.5 oz.) $5
  • Rold-Gold pretzels (2.0 oz.) $5
  • M&M’s candies (1.74 oz.) $5
  • Kit Kat candy bar (1.5 oz) $5
  • Snickers candy bar (2.1 oz) $5
  • Nutri-Grain cereal bar (1.3 oz) $5
  • Pringles (1.4 oz.) $6
  • Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies (2.0 oz.) $6
  • Bottled water (1 liter) $9
  • Honey roasted peanuts (6.0 oz) $10
  • Cheesy snack crackers (6.0 oz) $13
  • Cashew mix (6.0 oz.) $15
  • Sleeve of golf balls (3) $18

I was too afraid to unlock the accompanying refrigerator that was filled with alcohol and cans of soda for sale, but I’m sure those prices were, shall we say, “exorbitant” too.

For awhile, I even strongly considered locking the goodie-basket snacks in the refrigerator too — and then throwing away the key — just in case my kids got any “bright ideas” in the middle of the night. I know. But consider this: The combined price of all 13 goodie-basket items in my room exceeded the resort’s low-season room rate. That’s why, if you’re on a tight budget, it’s important to avoid temptation and stay away from those in-room snacks — otherwise, any room rate savings you secure can be quickly eroded.

The best way to do this is to bring your own snacks and drinks from home; we bring everything from pretzels to potato chips, as well as a cooler full of soft drinks and other beverages. If you can’t do that, at least stock up on munchies from a nearby grocer or liquor store before checking in to your room.

Remember, while resort hotels usually have a low season — it’s always the high season at the mini-bar.

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MONEY Travel

How to Cancel Your Flight Reservation Without Getting Gouged

Dave and Les Jacobs—Getty Images

Familiarize yourself with the 24-hour rule.

Have you ever booked an airline ticket only to see that the fare dropped soon after you made your purchase? Unfortunately, the cheapest airline tickets tend to be non-refundable, so price-sensitive travelers usually end up not profiting from that price drop.

Have you ever had unexpected news pop up right after booking your flight that requires you to change or cancel your flight? You may have to pay fees to change your flight or end up stuck with the ticket you can no longer use if your plans change.

In the first case, you should be able to cancel and re-book your flight at a lower rate if you act within 24 hours of your original purchase thanks to a little known federal rule. If your plans have changed, you could even straight out cancel your flight for a full refund.

How the 24-Hour Cancellation Rule Works

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) put the 24-hour no-charge cancellation rule into place, but they also stipulate the purchase must be at least a week in advance of the flight departure date in order to qualify.

This consumer-friendly booking rule has been implemented in a few different ways depending on with which airline you choose to fly. Most airlines choose to allow you to cancel your reservation within 24 hours of booking as long as you meet the requirements of the rule. Airlines that follow the rule exactly as written include US Airways, JetBlue and Spirit.

However, some more generous airlines, such as Frontier and United, do not require you to make your purchase at least a week in advance. Delta is more flexible with the cancellation time period and allows you to cancel up until midnight on the day after you book your flight, which will normally give you at least a few more hours to find a lower fare or change your mind should something else pop up.

American Airlines follows the DOT rule in a unique way. It allows you to book your flight by putting it on hold for up to 24 hours, without charging you for the ticket. Once the hold expires, you have to pay for your ticket, pay a fee for an extended hold or let the ticket and pricing expire. This allows the airline to follow the rule without having to worry about the hassle of refunding any money. Once you purchase the ticket after the hold period, the sale is essentially final. To use this option, simply look for the hold option on the review and pay screen when booking a ticket on American Airlines’ website.

The most generous airline, as far as cancellation policies go, is Southwest. Southwest has neither fees for cancellation nor change fees. If you have to make any changes, you will get full credit for the price that you paid for your ticket. If you decide to change to a more expensive flight, simply pay the difference in fares.

Cancelling or Changing Your Flight Outside of 24 Hours

Once the initial 24-hour window passes, cancelling a flight gets a lot trickier. Each airline has its own policies regarding cancellation fees and change fees. Since many airlines have a handful of different fares you can buy, there are many different rules governing cancellation and change fees.If you need to cancel or change your flight outside of the 24-hour window, first check out your carrier’s website to read up on its policies. You might find a special exception that allows you to avoid fees based on your particular circumstance. If you cannot find what you need on the website, call the airline and speak to a customer service representative. It can’t hurt to ask.

Read next: The Absolute Worst Practice of Airlines Today

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TIME Disney

Here’s Why Disney Just Banned This Vacation Photo Essential


The company cited safety as the main concern

Disney is the latest company to ban selfie-sticks due to safety concerns, the company said in an announcement Friday.

The popular travel item will be banned from Disney theme parks in Orlando starting Tuesday, and also in Disney water parks, the Associated Press reported.

“We strive to provide a great experience for the entire family, and unfortunately selfie-sticks have become a growing safety concern for both our guests and cast,” Disney World spokeswoman Kim Prunty told the Orlando Sentinel.

According to the publication, guests will have the option of checking the items near park entrances to pick them up later in the day.

This has been an ongoing issue at Disney:

Several incidents preceded the change, but officials have been discussing the rules for some time, Disney said. This week at Disney California Adventure park, a roller coaster was halted after a passenger pulled out a selfie-stick. The ride was closed for an hour.

Apple banned the item from its Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this year.

TIME movies

11 Real-Life Harry Potter Destinations You Can Visit

Your long-waited-for letter from Hogwarts may never actually come, but a visit to each of these destinations will get the fans pretty close

This article originally appeared on

MONEY deals

How to Book an Entire Private Jet Charter Flight for Just $4

Jessica Ambats—Copyright: Jessica Ambats JetSuite

Travel like a CEO on a minimum-wage budget.

For the second year in a row, JetSuite, a private jet charter company that’s been called the “Southwest Airlines of charter flying,” is running a special promotion offering last-minute flights for just $4. That’s for the entire jet that’ll accommodate four to six people, mind you, so at most each person in your party will have to pony up $1.

For that princely sum, you’ll get the full private jet experience—small planes, no lines getting on and off the plane, big plush leather seats with fold-out desks and free wi-fi.

Of course, there’s a catch. The details of the promotion, as spelled out by the Robb Report and the New York Times, specify that the $4 charters will only be available for takeoff on a single day—Saturday, July 4—and that the exact routes will not be posted until the day before, Friday, July 3.

Snagging one of these bargain private flights won’t be easy: You’ll have to be lucky, in that one of the mystery itineraries must work for your location, and your timing must be perfect in order to beat the masses of other travelers who are surely eager to scoop up the same deal. At most, a few dozen travelers will be able to take advantage of one of these July 4 steals. Bear in mind too that these are one-way flights, and you’re on your own figuring out a way to get back home.

JetSuite will list its $4 routes on July 3 at its website. Travelers also have the option of signing up for a destination “WishList” to be notified via text or email if JetSuite deals are ever offered for your preferred airports.

JetSuite, which was created and is run by former JetBlue executives, and has attracted big investments from the likes of Zappos founder Tony Hsieh, has a business model that sells discounted flights on otherwise empty private planes that are en route to more standard charter bookings. Normally, JetSuite’s daily “SuiteDeals” start at $536 for short-haul routes such as Fort Lauderdale to Fort Myers in Florida, or Hyannis, Mass., to White Plains, N.Y.

That’s for the entire plane, and that’s dirt cheap for a private jet booking. But still, it’s not anywhere near as cheap as $4.


Grateful Dead Fans Gouged in More Ways Than One for Reunion Shows

The Grateful Dead perform during a reunion concert Saturday, Aug. 3, 2002, in East Troy, Wis. From left are Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Bob Weir and Mickey Hart.
Morry Gash—Associated Press The Grateful Dead perform during a reunion concert Saturday, Aug. 3, 2002, in East Troy, Wis. From left are Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Bob Weir and Mickey Hart.

Maybe a friend of the devil isn't a friend of mine.

“Every silver lining’s got a touch of grey.”

The Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia sang these words in one of the band’s extremely rare hit singles back in 1987. The Dead was considered mostly past its prime even then. Of the 20 essential Grateful Dead shows as named by Rolling Stone, only five took place after 1977, and none of TIME’s picks for the best Dead shows were after 1975. Still, some of the revived interest in the 1980s and ’90s came from the children of the band’s original fans, and the Dead’s fan base has grown and grown and now ranges in age from roughly 8 to 80.

For the most diehard fans, the early 2015 announcement that surviving band members would reunite to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead—and 20 years since Garcia passed away—with a few “Fare Thee Well” concert shows was a dream come true. But the “touch of grey,” in this instance, is that the short-lived tour would be accompanied by some extremely unseemly business that has generated loads of aggravation (and loads of money) from the Dead’s mellow, peace-loving fans.

Almost immediately, ticket prices for the Dead’s shows at Chicago’s Soldier Field over July 4 weekend went bonkers. Before tickets had even gone on sale, ticket aggregators like TiqIQ reported that prices on the secondary market were averaging $876. The speculation and expected resale of Dead concert seats drew comparisons to the 2015 Super Bowl, when some seriously shady price gouging took place.

Some 500,000 people tried to buy tickets at face value ($59.50 to $199.50) when they actually did go on sale, and the extraordinary demand pushed scalper prices skyward. For a while, Chicago resale tickets were averaging $1,400 to $2,000, and the cheapest get-in price (for the worst seat available) was over $350. Greedy online sellers were asking over $100,000 apiece, and some fans forked over $10,000 or more per ticket.

The Dead shows had a similar effect on the Chicago hotel scene. Rates at some downtown properties during the shows were three, four, even five times more expensive than the same period in 2014, Bloomberg reported.

After the concert dates drew near, and after the band added additional tour dates at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, however, the bottom dropped out of the market. Earlier this week, tickets for the Santa Clara shows were available for as little as $19, and Chicago seats could be had for under $200.

As of Friday, the resale site StubHub was listing tickets in Santa Clara starting at $48 for this Saturday, and $36 for Sunday. Get-in prices for next weekend’s shows in Chicago ranged from $175 to $198. StubHub data indicates that average resale ticket prices remain quite high—$222 for Santa Clara, $862 for Chicago—and some of the asking prices on the secondary market are still absurd, at $5,000+ for prime seats.

According to the research of Beyond Pricing, a software development firm focused on dynamic pricing for Airbnb and other vacation rentals, the July 4 weekend lodging market in Chicago went on a rollercoaster ride similar to that of Grateful Dead concert tickets. Here’s what happened, and here’s why many Deadheads have a right to feel like they’ve been ripped off, per Beyond Pricing’s Ian McHenry:

Speculators snatched up hotel rooms as well as tickets in hope of turning a handsome profit. And some of these speculators succeeded. As soon as all the rooms and tickets were gone, people who missed out started to get desperate. The smart speculators slowly unleashed their inventory of rooms and tickets to these people, often at highly inflated rates. Scarcity and lack of supply collided with huge demand to equal astronomic prices.

More recently, however, ticket scalpers have been dumping seats at lower and lower prices because they don’t want to be stuck with them at show time. And hotels that were once listed as sold out, or that were attempting to gouge guests with insane markups are posting available rooms at rates that are a more reasonable 70% or so above the norm. Airbnb rates in Chicago have taken a nosedive as well, partly thanks to the dramatic increase in supply, “from 2,500 before the concert was announced to over 4,300 the week before the event,” Beyond Pricing notes. Like hotel rates, Airbnb rental rates next weekend in Chicago are about 70% higher than normal.

The speculators, scalpers, hotels, and Airbnb hosts still stand to cash in big time on the backs of diehard Deadheads over the next two weekends. But it appears that fans aren’t getting ripped off quite as badly as they were in the recent past.

In what’s been a long, strange, likely unpleasant and distasteful trip for legions of Grateful Dead fans, perhaps a few more words from Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia’s “Touch of Grey” will provide some comfort and allow them to enjoy the shows:

“It’s even worse than it appears / but it’s all right.”

Read next: Grateful Dead Tickets Once Priced in the Thousands Now Sell for $19

MONEY Travel

10 Quirky, Fun, and Cheap Summer Vacation Lodging Ideas

Usually around $100 or less for the opposite of a cookie-cutter motel.

Often, the best thing a traveler can say about a motel is that it was just like you’d expect. In other words, there was nothing memorable about the stay whatsoever. Instead of planning your summer vacation pit stops around basic hotels and motels that are serviceable—but also anonymous and utterly forgettable—consider venturing off the beaten path this summer. Here are 10 funky and unique kinds of lodging that are sure to create great memories for road trips and family vacations.

  • Treehouses

    Out ’n’ About Tree resort
    Woods Wheatcroft—Aurora Open/Corbis Out ’n’ About Tree resort

    It’s a cliché, but you’re bound to feel like a kid again if you get the chance to spend the night in a treehouse—perhaps while bringing along kids of your own. At Oregon’s Out ‘n About Treehouse resort (or “treesort), guests choose between more than a dozen different treehouse rentals, starting at $130 per night. The treehouses are reached by rough-hewn stairs, handcrafted spiral staircases, and swinging bridges. Most of the accommodations are 15 to 20 feet off the ground, though the highest treehouse is perched 47 feet up in a Douglas fir. There are quite a few independent Airbnb treehouse rentals around the country too.

  • Tipis

    First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, Ulm, Montana
    Stephen Saks Photography—Alamy First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, Ulm, Montana

    The tipis offered as overnight lodging from the Under Canvas operations at Yellowstone and Glacier national parks fall into the category of “glamping,” i.e., glamorous camping. With cots, mattresses, pillows, blankets, towels, and safari chairs all provided under a canvas tipi exterior, you’ll hardly be roughing it. Starting at $95 per night, it’s one of the cheapest options that can still be described as luxury camping. Some state parks in Montana, Minnesota, and North Dakota rent tipis for overnight stays as well.

  • Hike-In Lodges

    Hikers walk past the lodging area at the Granite Park Chalet in Glacier National Park, Montana.
    Matt Mills McKnight—Reuters/Corbis Hikers walk past the lodging area at the Granite Park Chalet in Glacier National Park, Montana.

    When the only way to get to your accommodations is on foot, one thing is for certain: There’s no way your sleep will be disturbed by the sounds of honking cars or road traffic. Beyond the tranquility of staying overnight in a hut or lodge reached only via hiking trails, guests get to enjoy the way that somehow conversation, food, and yes, sleep, are always better after long, active days in the great outdoors. Among the hike-in options around the country: The Hike Inn in northern Georgia, the backcountry Granite Park Chalet and Sperry Chalet lodges in Glacier National Park, and the series of huts in the White Mountains of New Hampshire maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club (from $127 per person, dinner and breakfast included).

  • Lighthouses

    Pigeon Point Lighthouse Electric Candlelight
    Tyler Westcott—Getty Images/Flickr Pigeon Point Lighthouse Electric Candlelight

    The sound of crashing waves below, the salty smell in the air, and the views that stretch for miles of empty water are among the memories that you’ll come home with after a night spent in a lighthouse. At just $28 for a dorm bed and $76 for a private room, northern California’s Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel has to be one of the world’s most affordable lighthouses that welcome travelers. Other options include the Race Point Lighthouse in Cape Cod and Michigan’s Big Bay Lighthouse B&B.

  • Fire Lookouts

    Ei Katsumata—Alamy Webb Mountain Fire Lookout in the Kootenai National Forest in northwestern Montana

    Dotting the deep forests of the western mountain states, fire lookouts were built decades ago to be manned by rangers hoping to warn of forest fires as soon as they erupted. Modern technology has made fire lookouts less of a necessity. But the structures remain, and dozens of fire lookouts can be rented by the night or week. Montana has the most lookouts available for rent, with 20; Oregon has 19, while Idaho has 11. The Squaw Mountain Lookout, one of two fire lookouts in Colorado, is a 14-foot-by-14-foot granite lodge built in the 1940s at an altitude of 11,000 feet. The cabin, which rents for $80 per night, comes with an electric stove, refrigerator, heat, and beds, but no fresh water. Most important, the building is encircled with windows—it’s a lookout, after all—and the views are endless.

  • Covered Wagons

    Old western trailer functioning as a hotel room on Bar 10 Ranch Hotel, Grand Canyon, Arizona
    Alamy Old western trailer functioning as a hotel room on Bar 10 Ranch Hotel, Grand Canyon, Arizona

    OK, so spending the night in a covered wagon is sort of a gimmick. Inside, the accommodations are usually not all that different from the bunks in a basic state park cabin. But this is a seriously fun gimmick, especially for anyone fascinated with the era of cowboys, pioneers, and “Little House on the Prairie.” The wagon accommodations at Colorado’s Strawberry Park Hot Springs run $60 per night and include access to the natural hot spring pools. Some campgrounds, like Smokey Hollow in Wisconsin, have big wagons that can fit the whole family (from $70 for up to five people). And the Bar 10 Ranch, within striking distance of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, has a wide range of lodging options including 13 covered wagons.

  • Train Cabooses

    Alamy The Red Caboose Motel, Ronks, Pennsylvania

    Around the country, retired cabooses and train cars have been given new life as private nightly rentals at B&Bs and hotels. Iowa’s Mason House Inn, for instance, has eight rooms in the main house, which was built in 1846, as well as the circa 1952 Caboose Cottage out back. Over in Missouri, the Cruces Cabooses B&B consists of a pair of cabooses from the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe lines that sleep five or six and rent for around $100 per night. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania’s Amish country, the Red Caboose Motel welcomes overnight guests and daytime visitors to check out more than three dozen train cars on the property.

  • Yurts

    Treebones Resort offers ocean view yurts on Highway 1 in Big Sur, California known as glamping, or luxury camping.
    Lisa Werner—Getty Images Treebones Resort offers ocean view yurts in Big Sur, California.

    Yurts are basically tents. But they’re round, sturdy, and tall, meaning they’re tents that won’t leak, and that give you the space to stand up and stretch your arms. All in all, they provide all the fresh air of tent camping—without the claustrophobia. State parks in places like Idaho and Washington have tons of yurts at very affordable rates. The Treebones Resort in Big Sur, Calif., offers the more upscale yurt experience, with queen-size beds, running water, and redwood decks overlooking the Pacific.

  • Converted Jails

    Liberty Hotel
    Michael Weschler Guest rooms at the Liberty Hotel in Boston, which used to be the Charles Street Jail, often go for more than $500 per night.

    The more traditional way to spend the night in jail may not cost the “guest” any money, but we’ll go out on a limb and say that the former prisons converted into hotels are probably more comfortable. In 2007, the old Charles Street Jail in Boston was reborn as the $500+ per night Liberty Hotel (liberty, like freedom, get it?), a luxury property that preserved the old jail’s catwalks and 90-foot atrium as the centerpiece. More affordable voluntary jail cells can be found here and there around the country, such as the Jailhouse Suites ($99 per night) in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

  • Drive-in Movie Motels

    Dimitry Bobroff—Alamy Shooting Star Drive-In Airstream Park in Escalante, Utah.

    There’s movie night, and then there’s MOVIE NIGHT. Motels in Vermont (Fairlee Motel & Drive-In) and Colorado (Best Western Movie Manor) both offer the exceptionally rare opportunity to catch a movie at the drive-in from the comfort of your bed. Yet another bucket list booking for movie nuts is Utah’s Shooting Star RV Resort, which in addition to RV sites rents Airstream Trailers from $119—and the property boasts a vintage on-site drive-in movie screen and films on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights.

MONEY Travel

5 Ways to Keep Your Money Safe When Traveling Abroad

Innocenti—Getty Images

#2: Don't keep it all in one place.

Nothing ruins a vacation quite like a monetary crisis. The risks are certainly there: Your bank could mistake your innocent purchases for fraudulent ones and freeze your accounts, you could rack up tons of unexpected fees, or you could simply get screwed on the exchange rate.

Here are five tips to help you protect your money abroad, prepare for emergencies, and prevent overspending.

1. Inform your bank that you’re planning to travel.
Be as detailed as possible about where you’ll be (hotels, specific cities within countries, etc.). Most banks let you do it online, but I like to talk to a person, too, just for peace of mind. Before you leave, make sure you have your bank’s international contact information with you in case something goes wrong — your standard 1-800 number may not be the correct contact.

2. Don’t keep all your money in one place.
When I took a trip overseas last year, my partner and I were diligent about telling our banks where we’d be traveling to avoid any issues. As soon as we got off the plane, we walked over to an ATM to take out some cash. In a moment at once terrifying and hilarious, the machine read out, “YOUR CARD HAS BEEN CAPTURED.” We had to transfer all the money in his account into mine (we had split it evenly in case something like that happened), but that took a few days to come through. I don’t know what we would have done if his ATM card was the only way to access our money. Having emergency money in traveler’s checks (yeah, they’re still a thing) as well as cash is a smart idea.

3. Enable online accounts.
Assuming you don’t have online banking already, get it. Logging in to your account online will give you the option to verify your activities if you do get flagged, monitor your expenses, and keep an eye out for fraudulent charges.

4. Avoid airport currency exchanges.
While it’s convenient to exchange your money at the airport, the exchange rate will be less than favorable. Avoid unfair exchange rates by withdrawing money from an ATM or bank.

5. Get a no-foreign-transaction-fee credit or debit card.
Most cards charge a premium for any international transaction, so you may want to open a no-foreign-transaction-fee credit or debit card before your trip. You should also use it to book your trip — flights on foreign airlines and hotel reservations can all be subject to international fees. Just make sure that your card offers a worldwide payment network, and do your research to make sure your travel destinations are covered.

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Paulo Coelho on How You Can Become a Better Traveler

Avoid museums

I realized very early on that, for me, traveling was the best way of learning. I still have a pilgrim soul, and I thought that I would use my blog to pass on some of the lessons I have learned, in the hope that they might prove useful to other pilgrims like me.

1. Avoid museums. This might seem to be absurd advice, but let’s just think about it a little: if you are in a foreign city, isn’t it far more interesting to go in search of the present than of the past? It’s just that people feel obliged to go to museums because they learned as children that travelling was about seeking out that kind of culture. Obviously museums are important, but they require time and objectivity – you need to know what you want to see there, otherwise you will leave with a sense of having seen a few really fundamental things, except that you can’t remember what they were.

2. Hang out in bars. Bars are the places where life in the city reveals itself, not in museums. By bars I don’t mean nightclubs, but the places where ordinary people go, have a drink, ponder the weather, and are always ready for a chat. Buy a newspaper and enjoy the ebb and flow of people. If someone strikes up a conversation, however silly, join in: you cannot judge the beauty of a particular path just by looking at the gate.

3. Be open. The best tour guide is someone who lives in the place, knows everything about it, is proud of his or her city, but does not work for any agency. Go out into the street, choose the person you want to talk to, and ask them something (Where is the cathedral? Where is the post office?). If nothing comes of it, try someone else – I guarantee that at the end of the day you will have found yourself an excellent companion.

4. Try to travel alone or – if you are married – with your spouse. It will be harder work, no one will be there taking care of you, but only in this way can you truly leave your own country behind. Traveling with a group is a way of being in a foreign country while speaking your mother tongue, doing whatever the leader of the flock tells you to do, and taking more interest in group gossip than in the place you are visiting.

5. Don’t compare. Don’t compare anything – prices, standards of hygiene, quality of life, means of transport, nothing! You are not traveling in order to prove that you have a better life than other people – your aim is to find out how other people live, what they can teach you, how they deal with reality and with the extraordinary.

6. Understand that everyone understands you. Even if you don’t speak the language, don’t be afraid: I’ve been in lots of places where I could not communicate with words at all, and I always found support, guidance, useful advice, and even girlfriends. Some people think that if they travel alone, they will set off down the street and be lost for ever. Just make sure you have the hotel card in your pocket and – if the worst comes to the worst – flag down a taxi and show the card to the driver.

7. Don’t buy too much. Spend your money on things you won’t need to carry: tickets to a good play, restaurants, trips. Nowadays, with the global economy and the Internet, you can buy anything you want without having to pay excess baggage.

8. Don’t try to see the world in a month. It is far better to stay in a city for four or five days than to visit five cities in a week. A city is like a capricious woman: she takes time to be seduced and to reveal herself completely.

9. A journey is an adventure. Henry Miller used to say that it is far more important to discover a church that no one else has ever heard of than to go to Rome and feel obliged to visit the Sistine Chapel with two hundred thousand other tourists bellowing in your ear. By all means go to the Sistine Chapel, but wander the streets too, explore alleyways, experience the freedom of looking for something – quite what you don’t know – but which, if you find it, will – you can be sure – change your life.

Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist.

This article was originally published on Paulo Coelho’s blog

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