What’s the Buzz About?

There are some hotels worth staying at, eateries worth popping into and sights worth seeing regardless of the price. Luckily, I happen to be a student on a budget so the majority of the places I stay, food I eat and sights I see are on the not-so-expensive end of the spectrum. If you’re looking for super high-end, I may have a review or two, but the majority of these reviews are for fellow bargain-hunters wanting to travel on a budget.

Also, due to the fact that I subscribe to 234908203 travel deal sites, I get to find out about some sweet deals that are worth sharing. Check this page out for recommendations on hotels, vacation packages, and reviews on everything we’ve experienced thus far! For constant updates on deals & steals, the home page is archived & categorized for your viewing pleasure. ♥

For full reviews, visit the home page– or follow the link to the {category} listed in brackets to the left of the hotel, eatery or sight! Also, as this list has continued to grow, I realize that finding a particular city would take some serious scrolling (and be potentially damaging to your index finger). I tried to implement a search function with no luck. Best bet: Ctrl + F. Always my friend.

{alphabetically categorized by country & city}




{Art & Culture}:: The Canterbury Cathedral, 11 The Precincts, Canterbury, CT1 2EH
Cost: £6.50 for students, £7.50 for adults, Open Mon-Sat 9a – 530p & Sun 1230p – 230p
If you’re in Canterbury, this place is a must-see! I snapped shots of where Archbishop Thomas Beckett was beheaded and the place where King Henry IV is buried. Not too shabby. Plus the grounds are gorgeous! [full review]

{Eats & Drinks}:: The City Arms Inn, 7 Butchery Lane, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 2JR
Great service & great drinks! Pitchers (2L) of Sex on the Beach for £9. [full review]


{Art & Culture}:: Chester Cathedral,  12 Abbey Square, Chester, CH1 2HU, UK
Cost: £4 for adults, £3 for seniors and students, Open Mon-Sat 9a-5p & Sun 1230p-4p
This place is phenomenal! The guided tour is great; so worth visiting. Make sure you bring a fully-charged camera!


See Scotland section below.


{A Place to Lay Your Head}::The Oxford Hotel, 13 Craven Terrace, London W2 3QD
Incredible value for your money — clean rooms & breakfast is included!! [full review]

{Art & Culture} :: Apollo Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Road, SW1V 1LL
Awesome theatre and fantastic performances. Students show your ID to snag heavily discounted tickets! (Got £50 seats for £17.50 in advance). [full review]

{Art & Culture} :: Borough Market (see map), Closest Tube Station: London Bridge [Read Full Review]
Make sure you have cash handy for all the deliciousness that awaits at this market! Separated into four areas, you can spend a few hours exploring and walk away with some delicious goodies.

{Art & Culture} :: Brick Lane, Brick Lane, Tower Hamlets, E1
Very cool place to hit up on a Sunday when the market is packed with designers peddling their goods: clothing, jewelry, handmade cards & delicious homemade food! Can’t be beat. Bring cash.

{Art & Culture}::Westminster Abbey,  St. James Park & Westminster are the nearest Tube stations
Cost: £9 for students, £12 for adults,  Open 9A – 230P

{Art & Culture}:: Oxford Street, Marble Arch & Bond Street are the nearest Tube stations
Spend the day checking out shops like Primark, Aldo, Selfridges and H&M and break for lunch in the nearby green.

{Eats & Drinks} :: Food for Thought, 31 Neal Street, Covent Garden,  WC2H 9PR
Deliciously amazing vegetarian cuisine — even the meat-eaters will love it! Affordable homemade goodness. Try the Caribbean stew if it’s on the menu! [full review]

{Eats & Drinks}:: Gordon’s Wine Bar, 47 Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NE (near Charing Cross Tube)
The oldest wine bar in London (built into an underground cave of sorts) deserves a look if you’re in town. Very cool atmosphere and a cool mix of people. [full review]

{Eats & Drinks}:: Itsu, locations all over London (Drury & Great Queen is my home base)
Great place for some fro yo! The mini is ridiculously small, opt for the larger size and you’ll be happy. Better than any other fro yo I’ve found (better than Snog, if you’re wondering).

{Eats & Drinks}:: The International, 116 St Martins Lane, London WC2N 4BF
Super cool, posh place near Trafalgar Square worth hitting up if you’re looking to get dressed up! The lounge downstairs is amazing and the berry cosmos are to die for if you’re okay with spending £7.50 on a drink. Not cheap, but definitely a fun night out! [full review]

{Eats & Drinks} :: Mildred’s, 45 Lexington Street, London , W1F 9AN
Amazing vegetarian food in Soho, great atmosphere and moderate pricing (£5 for appetizers, £7-9 for entrees)! A must try: The delicious sweet potato fries & risotto cake — to die for! [full review]

{Eats & Drinks}::The Mitre, 24 Craven Terrace,  Bayswater, London,  W2 3QH
Try the food — delish! Dad loved the beef & ale pie! [full review]

{Eats & Drinks} :: Porterhouse, 21-22 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, WC2 E7NA
Such a fun place to hang out! Live music and my favorite strawberry-kiwi cider! Mmmm! [full review]

{Eats & Drinks}:: Prince of Wales Pub, 42 Great Queen St., London Wc1V
The apple cider is my fave & the service is Grade A; typical pub grub: jacket potatoes and fish & chips are staples. [full review]

{Eats & Drinks} :: The Table Cafe, 83 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0HX  [Read Full Review]
Delicious breakfast options! Such a great place to hit up for brunch before heading over to nearby Borough Market.


{A Place to Lay Your Head}::The Thistle Manchester, 3-5 Portland Street, Picadilly Gardens, M1 6DP
Really close to Piccadilly Station and a very helpful staff (after I blew a fuse trying to use my US blowdryer!!) [full review]

{Art & Culture}::The Manchester Cathedral, Victoria Street, Manchester M3 1SX
Cost: FREE! Beautiful architecture; worth seeing if you’re in the area. [full review]

{Art & Culture}::The Manchester Museum, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL
Cost: FREE! (It’s a University museum!), Open 10A – 5P most days [full review]
Defintely worth popping in if you’re in the area — it’s free and they have some awesome exhibits! We loved it!

{Eats & Drinks}:: Bella Italia, 11-13 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 1LY
Try the vegetarian risotto and the AMAZING desserts — worth the calories <3. [full review]



{Art & Culture}:: Dachau Concentration Camp, Alte Römerstraße 75, D – 85221 Dachau
Free entrance, Audio Guide: €2 for students, €3 for adults, Open: Tue-Sun 9a – 5p
Not the happiest of places, but definitely a life lesson and a cultural experience in the outskirts of Munich. Take the tram from Munich for next to nothing and reach Dachau in under 30 minutes.
[full review]


{A Place to Lay Your Head} :: The Tent, In den Kirschen 30, 80992 Munich
the place to stay if you’re looking for a cheap escape in Munich! It’s a great place to catch up with other hostelers from all over the world and it’s close to the tram to hit the city center. Plus during normal season (non-Oktoberfest time) it’s €10.50 for a bed! Also, good (cheap) food on site! [full review]



{A Place To Lay Your Head}:: Hotel D’Este, Via Carlo Alberto 4b, 00185, Rome, Italy
Big rooms, friendly staff and a great location about five minutes from Termini Stazione, a couple of minutes from the Metro, a minute to the bus stop and walking distance from nearly all major sites!
[full review]

{Art & Culture}:: Castel Sant’Angelo, Lungotevere Castello, 50, Rome, Italy
Hit this place up for some amazing views of the Vatican, the Tiber and Bernini’s art. It was originally built as Hadrian’s Mausoleum back in AD 170ish. It’s about €8.50 to get in {I opted out} if you want to see the museum.

{Art & Culture}:: The Colosseum, Piazza del Colosseo, Rome, Italy
Astounding from the outside with pretty great views from the inside. €12 for entry, €16 if you want the audio guide. It seems a bit steep, but the views on a nice day are pretty breathtaking! Take pictures with the gladiators out in front and go on a weekday, if possible to avoid crowds.
[full review]

{Art & Culture}:: Pantheon, Piazza della Rotunda
Pretty amazing to run into considering how long ago it was constructed [AD 170 per Hadrian]. It’s
free to check out (something we can all appreciate!) and there are loads of fun eateries nearby! [full review]

{Art & Culture} :: Spanish Steps, Piazza di Spagna, Roma, Italy 00187
I didn’t really know what to expect, but be prepared for an artsy area with some angsty teens gracing the steps. The Piazza is at the top, where you can grab some seriously cool art! Surrounding the bottom are high-end retailers (think: D&G, Dior, YSL, etc.) if you’re looking to drop some serious cash.
[full review]

{Art & Culture} :: Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Rome, Italy
Probably one of my favorite parts of the city! The structure is 85 feet x 65 feet and absolutely astounding, plus there are loads of great shops nearby. Toss a coin into the fountain for a swift return to Roma. Definitely a must-see!
[full review]

{Art & Culture}:: Vatican City, Metro Line A drops you off 10 minutes from the Vatican
St. Peter’s Basilica is breathtaking and entry is free of charge. Get in early to avoid crowds! Note: The Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum are closed on Sunday, so schedule accordingly!
[full review]

{Eats & Drinks}:: Giolitti, Via Uffici del Vicario 40, Rome, Italy
Holy deliciousness. This famed gelateria has amazing gelato plus a full bar, a restaurant and delicious baked goods! Plus, it’s right down the street from the Pantheon.
[full review]

{Eats & Drinks}:: Magnolia, Piazza di Campo de Fiori, 00186 Rome, Italy
Great little spot in Campo de Fiori with a good variety, good atmosphere and reasonable prices. A perfect place to grab a bottle of wine and people watch before heading out to nearby bars.
[full review]


Reviews will be updated shortly… Check back on 19-December 2009.



{A Place to Lay Your Head} :: Jury’s Inn, 43 Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DH
Nice, comfortable hotel in the middle of everything! The Royal Mile is in your backyard and the train station is about 1/3 of a mile away. Internet is
not free though… it’s at an hourly or daily rate (sad). [full review]

{A Place to Lay Your Head} :: The Royal British Hotel, 20 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2AN
Reasonable prices, free internet and an amazing location on Princes Street
directly across from the train station. The rooms aren’t super fancy, but they’re perfect for a duo on a budget looking for a prime location with free wi-fi! [full review]

{Art & Culture} :: Camera Obscura, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2ND
Adult: £8.50, Students & Seniors: £6.75, Children (5-15): £5.75, Under 5s: Free
A fun place to take kiddos and a great place to catch amazing views of Edinburgh and of the Castle!
[full review]

{Art & Culture} :: Edinburgh Castle, Royal Mile/Castle Terrace, Edinburgh
Adults (including students!): £11, Child: £5.50, Concessions: £8, Under 5s: Free
[full review]
Dare I say that the Castle wasn’t worth the £11? The views of the city are remarkable, but you can get those without paying the entry fee. Likely worth the cash if you’re travelling with someone who really enjoys the history, but the greatest pictures are from the outside (no entry fee required).

{Art & Culture} :: Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9AX
Ticket prices vary based on seating, but students do get a discount of 50%.
[full review]
Perhaps I’m spoiled by London theatre, but my Peter Pan experience caused a bit of disappointment — don’t go in expected a Broadway performance or you’ll be sorely disheartened.

{Eats & Drinks}:: Princes St. Cafe, 20 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2AN
This place is on the bottom floor of the Royal British Hotel and is a great stop for a quick pick-me-up.  £1.75 for a coffee of your choice (I’m an Americano person) & a morning treat! Can you really beat that?

{Eats & Drinks} :: St. Giles Cafe, 8-10 St. Giles Street, Edinburgh EH12 9
Right off the Royal Mile, across from St. Giles Cathedral, this little gem is a great stop for some soul-warming soup or an infusion of caffeine. Another bonus: Super reasonably priced. No cards accepted for bills under £5.

United States

Capitola, California.

{Vacations and Leisure} :: Capitola Beach, Esplanade, Capitola, California
Great place for a getaway — a little overcast in the mornings, but sunny by 11A! It gets packed, so grab your spot on the sand early for prime sunbathing. Pack a picnic lunch and make a day out of it or hit up any of the eateries adjacent to the beach!
[full review]

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

{A Place to Lay Your Head}:: La Playa Hotel, 900 Camino Real at Eighth Street, Carmel, California, 93921
Beautiful views, spacious rooms PLUS on-site spa
treatments! Book during the off-season — March is great! — and you can snag a room at a semi-discounted rate! [full review]

{Art & Culture} :: Coast Galleries, Ocean Avenue at San Carlos, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
This was my favorite of a bazillion art galleries in Carmel — amazing glass work and bronze sculptures that blow your mind! It’s definitely worth a peek; the talent is incredible.

{Eats & Drinks}:: Casanova, 5th Street between Mission and San Carlos, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Darling place, great atmosphere and delicious food! Just remember, you get what you pay for and deliciousness does not come cheap. <3.
[full review]

{Eats & Drinks}:: The Forge in the Forest, Junipero Avenue at 5th Street, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Gorgeous place to stop for a bite. The mushroom soup is delicious and it’s a generous serving! Enjoy the salads, soups and sandwiches for an affordable, delicious dinner.
[full review]

{Eats & Drinks}:: The Grill on Ocean Avenue between Dolores & Lincoln, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Great food, huge portions and a super-sweet staff! Lunch is definitely affordable — try the vegetarian sandwich; you will not be dissapointed! $10-$20 per person for lunch.
[full review]

{Eats & Drinks}:: The Village Corner, Dolores & 6th Street, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif.
Great breakfast– if you’re a veggie, try the Veggie Benedict — delish!
[full review]

Pacific Grove, California.

{A Place to Lay Your Head}:: The Gosby House Inn, 643 Lighthouse, Pacific Grove, California
Super cute B&B with great service and a delicious breakfast. They also provide wine and hors d’oeuvres from 430P – 630P so you can grab a bite before heading over for the night. 5 miles from Carmel!
[full review]

Paia, Maui, Hawaii.

{Eats & Drinks} :: Cafe Des Amis, 42 Baldwin Ave, Paia, Hawaii
Love, love, love this place! Best crepes ever with a good selection of Mediterranean and Indian food. The dessert crepes are ah-mazing! Plus, it’s a great place to go with just a few bucks. Near Kahalui.

Sacramento, California.

{Art & Culture}:: The Lion King & Other Musical Theatre Performances, 1301 L Street, Sacramento, CA
The Lion King is the most amazing show I have EVER seen & the Musical Theatre in Sacramento continues to put on fantastic performances — between Phantom & the Lion King I’m overwhelmed! $35-100 per ticket
[full review]

{Eats & Drinks}:: Sofia’s on 11th, 815 11th Street, Sacramento, California.
Great for a romantic night out; very swanky! Delicious food, amazing drinks (try the chocolatini!) & superior service. All around one of the best places we’ve been in a long time! (The website doesn’t do the place justice!)
[full review]

{Eats & Drinks} :: Tokyo Fros, 2224 Fair Oaks Blvd, Sacramento, California.
With happy hour from 4-8P, Monday through Saturday, it can’t be beat for the cost: 1/2 price sushi & cocktails!

{Eats & Drinks}:: Tre Sacramento, Corner of Howe & Hurley, Sacramento, California.
Great for appetizers & drinks; but desserts are probably not worth the investment!
[full review]

{Steals and Deals} :: The Hoss Lee Academy, 6302 Sunrise Blvd, Citrus Heights, California
A salon and spa academy with amazing deals on facials, hair care and body treatments! Grab a facial for as low as $25 a pop! Spa Menu here.
[full review]

San Francisco, California.

{Eats & Drinks} :: Calzone’s, 430 Columbus Ave, San Francisco // 415.397.3600
Super amazing drinks & a great atmosphere in the heart of North Beach. Try to Moscow Mojito — delish!
[full review]

{Eats & Drinks} :: Crepes A Go Go, 2165 Union Street, San Francisco, California.
Delicious & affordable crepes at the corner of Fillmore & Union. Great place to stop for a quick bite!
[full review]

{A Place to Lay Your Head} :: Edward II Inn, 3155 Scott St., San Francisco, Ca.
Mediocre establishment, but if you’re looking for a decent place & a bite to eat on a budget, it’s a good choice!
[full review]

{Eats & Drinks} :: Figaro, 414 Columbus Street, San Francisco
Dubbed the “House of Gnocchi,” this joint has some delicious Italian fare including Grade A bruschetta!
[full review]

{Arts & Culture} :: St. Peter & Paul Church, 666 Filbert St, San Francisco, California
Gorgeous church where Marilyn & Joe D. tied the knot! Stop in for an 845A mass to see it from the inside!
[full review]

{Eats & Drinks} :: The Peace Cafe, 1665 Haight Street, San Francisco, California
I absolutely adore this place & make a point to hit it up for a quick bite every time I’m in SF. They have a great vegan/vegetarian selection and it’s definitely a unique area to peruse while in the city.
[full review]

{Eats & Drinks} :: The Stinking Rose, 325 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, California
Spectular atmosphere! A fantastic little joint in North Beach, definitely worth visiting for dinner or drinks & appetizers! Mmmmm…. Garlic lovers unite!
[full review]

{A Place to Lay Your Head}:: The Fairmont, 950 Mason Street, SF, California
Although this place is luxurious, it was
not worth the $300+ per night! The room was average-sized and you have to pay for internet & extras (despite exorbitant hotel fees). Gorgeous views of the city, but not worth the money. [full review]

San Ramon, California.

{Eats & Drinks} :: Sachi Sushi, 390 Market Place, San Ramon, California
Likely the
worst sushi that I’ve ever had. Although the prices are reasonable, the selection is minimal and the product is mediocre at best. [full review]

Seattle, Washington.

{Art & Culture} :: Pike Place Market, Pike Street, Seattle, WA
This place is quintessentially Seattle! It’s fun, entertaining and there are a load of fun shops to keep everyone happy! If you’re in town for a bit, the Farmer’s Markets are a great place to load up on farm fresh veggies.
[full review]

{Art & Culture} :: Space Needle, 400 Broad Street, Seattle, WA 98109
Cost: $16 for adults, $9 for kids; Open: 9A – 11P; the view is pretty amazing from the top although slightly overpriced. On a nice, clear day you’ll have a spectacular view of Mt. Ranier!
[full review]

Soon To Come for Reviews:

Malta (December 13 – 18)
Paris, France (January 2010)
Istanbul, Turkey (April 2010)

Check back soon for more reviews!

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