Tag Archives: budget travel

Wayfinding basics: how to find your hotel and catch your train

When it comes to travel wayfinding I’m old school—I use paper, as in maps and notes, and I talk to people.  It’s not that I’m opposed to technology (although I am possibly the last non-grandmother alive still using a flip-phone), it’s just that technology can and will fail just when you need it most.  How’s […]

How to travel in winter

Around this time every year I open my email to find an inbox full of cheap airfare alerts–cheap winter flights to cold weather destinations.  I feel cocky seeing those cheap winter airfares.  And oh yes, smug.  Just for a minute or two, I indulge in contempt for snowbirds, for sun-worshiping zombies, for geezer cruisers.  While they’re flipping themselves […]

Ostuni, the other windy city

Italians call it La Citta Bianca–The White City.  I call it L‘altra Città Ventosa–The Other Windy City.  Ostuni (the official name of this white and windy city) is remarkably picturesque from a distance.  We approached by train though silvery rows of olive trees towards a small mountain of whitewashed buildings.  After the friendly owner of our B&B picked us […]

Travel advice from my mentor, the Wife of Bath

My blogging name, The Wife of Bath, has become a kind of secret handshake with English lit nerds.  One of my readers commented “I saw your WOB handle and I just had to follow.  I am a huge fan of both Chaucer and the bawdy and bodacious Alison”.  For you not so word-nerdy sorts, here’s […]

Figeac: the genius of Champollion and the body odor of Jacques

Figeac, a well-preserved medieval town in Southwest France, is a scenic stop on The Way of St. James (Jacques) Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage trail.  Our personal pilgrimage was meant to pay homage to hometown hero Jean-François Champollion, though we unintentionally found ourselves in rather intimate proximity to a distant relative of St. Jacques (more on that later). Jean-François Champollion, […]

How to spot a tourist trap

Tourist traps are the junk food of traveling: get trapped by one and walk out with a lighter wallet and that sick, empty feeling that comes with high calories but no nutrition.  If you want to be a smart budget traveler, learn to spot tourist traps and avoid them in favor of a more nutritious […]

The next time you’re in Vézelay tell the people with the elephant ears I said hi

We were all alone in Vézelay’s Sainte-Marie-Madeleine Abbey, the light was fading, darker, darker…and then we climbed down into the crypt.  No, not actually a horror story ending, but in fact the ending to a perfect day, a day we spent from sunup to sundown in and around one of the world’s greatest Romanesque churches. Vézelay […]

How to get your coffee fix while travelling on a budget

My routine is the same every morning: I get out of bed, trip on my cat, and make a single espresso in my stove-top moka pot.  It’s a safe bet that you, my reader, have a similar caffeine routine (though maybe not a 19 pound cat circling your feet).  So how do you satisfy your coffee […]

Guess where?

We’re headed to the airport on our way to see outrageously excellent art and architecture, six UNESCO Word Heritage sights and an opera.  Guess where?   Our cat Janacek is providing a hint below:  

Why you don’t need to be rich to be a cultural tourist, and why it’s probably better not to be (really!)

I remember the exact moment: after a morning of winding our way uphill through the medieval Albayzín neighborhood of Granada in Southern Spain, we reached the San Nicholas Viewpoint. We picnicked while taking in the enchanting view of the Alhambra and surrounding mountains and I mentioned to HOB that, according to our guide book, this […]