Europe’s Tourist Taxes Revealed: Where they’ve doubled, and where they’re more than 10% of your total accommodation costs

Europe’s Tourist Taxes Revealed: Where they’ve doubled, and where they’re more than 10% of your total accommodation costs

This post was last updated on June 27th, 2018 New in 2018: A doubled tax in the Balearic Islands, as well as new taxes in Portugal and Greece Highest taxes are in Italy and the Balearics Lowest tourist taxes are in Greece and Lisbon; no taxes in Madrid and the UK Tourist tax in Venice is almost 11% of total accommodation cost Tourist taxes are becoming more common. Many are introduced with short notice as the high travel season approaches. Oftentimes, travellers don’t realise a tax is in place until checkout because fees are usually incorporated into accommodation prices. To add to the confusion, taxes vary wildly from country to country – even city to city, and travellers might not know what they’re paying for. In addition to supporting tourist infrastructure, some places direct taxpayer money toward the region’s environmental efforts and sustainability. Others, toward maintaining cultural sites. Holidu, a leading search engine for holiday lettings, identified the less obvious costs travellers are likely to be hit with in Europe, to help people better plan for fast-approaching summer holidays.   What’s new in 2018? Starting this summer, visitors to the Balearic Islands, including the Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera islands, will face a doubled tax increase. This applies to everyone over age 16. While it differs slightly depending on accommodation type, it is an average doubling of €3 per person per night, starting May 1 until October 31. This tax, known as the “Tax for Sustainable Tourism,” applies to all types of holiday accommodation, including cruise ships – for the first time ever. These changes are due to the...
Surin Beach Phuket: Experiencing Phuket’s Softer Side

Surin Beach Phuket: Experiencing Phuket’s Softer Side

This post was last updated on July 30th, 2017 Last year, we traveled through Thailand experiencing its two major cities: Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and bouncing around among the islands of Koh Lipe, Koh Lanta and Koh Samui. We were enamored by this tropical paradise from the very beginning, yet everyone we told our travel adventures to had one objection: we didn’t go to Phuket. It seemed as though everyone we talked to was shocked we didn’t go to Phuket, as they ranted and raved about this bucket-list worthy destination. We knew better than to skip Phuket this time, so on our second trip to Thailand, we made Phuket our first stop. Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, and your experience here will largely depend on where you go. We headed to Surin Beach Phuket first and found a quiet beach paradise that exceeded all our expectations. Paradise Found: Surin Beach Phuket   Surin Beach Phuket is about a 30-minute drive from Phuket’s airport. We had no idea what to expect when we were first arrived and were admittedly hesitant about what we would find. We took a 5-minute stroll from our hotel, The Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort, and were immediately greeted by a jungle-enclosed beach.     The sand was soft white with crystal blue waters and a shield of strong green mountains to either side. Tall palm trees encapsulated the beach and a few local vendors sold coconut water & local Thai dishes from the shade. The left half of the beach was fairly dense with tourists, however, on the right side, where we entered, tourists were...
14 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Around the World

14 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Around the World

This post was last updated on March 17th, 2016  Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.   We don’t particularly enjoy all the commercialism that surrounds the holiday, but we do love any excuse to celebrate. So if it means getting dolled up, eating scrumptious food and sipping on good wine… well, we can handle that.   Last year we celebrated Valentine’s Day in Taiwan. Taiwanese celebrate February 14th with fanfare—teddy bears, glittery flowers, and decorations. Stores often have Valentine’s Day discounts. Taipei 101 even lights up with cute hearts. But in addition to the Western date, Taiwanese also celebrate traditional Chinese Valentines Day on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar. Honestly we never knew much about this other Valentine’s Day, and from a foreigner’s eye, it certainly didn’t receive as much attention as its Western counterpart.     But it got us thinking. How do other countries celebrate Valentine’s Day around the world?   We set out to the handy dandy Internet to see what we could find. Perhaps not surprisingly, we discovered that many countries celebrate Valentine’s Day with roses and chocolates and perhaps a dinner date; many cultures have embraced the Western influence. Other cultures protest the holiday, some even going so far as to set fire to Valentine’s Day merchandise. And finally, some cultures have looked for a way to make the holiday more their own, finding a bit of balance.   Before we set off, we want to be clear that we haven’t experienced any of these celebrations firsthand; the information was sourced from...
Coping with Reverse Culture Shock: What You Need To Know

Coping with Reverse Culture Shock: What You Need To Know

This post was last updated on January 25th, 2016       Reverse culture shock is the ugliest part of traveling. It marks the end of your adventures, and worse yet, a return to normalcy. The term “reverse culture shock” is defined as: an “idealized view of home” and the “expectation of total familiarity.” To put it bluntly, it’s the somewhat devastating feeling that accompanies your flight home from a long stint abroad — after the initial ‘I-can’t-believe-I’m-going-home-excitement’ wears off and you’re left with a whole of, well, nothing. I came across a good way of putting reverse culture shock in my research — “you find yourself feeling out of place in your own culture.” But you don’t have to. Across the board, everyone agrees that you will experience a gradual re-acclimation to wherever you call home. And it doesn’t mean forgetting the incredible eight weeks you spent backpacking in South America or the six months studying in Asia. It means incorporating your experiences from that time abroad into your current outlook on life.  How To Deal With Reverse Culture Shock 1. Express Yourself Among our biggest fears after returning is that we’ll forget everything that’s happened. It all feels a bit like a dream, and there’s no one around to verify the reality. So don’t be afraid to seek that validation — find someone who will listen to your stories, or maintain that journal you started abroad. Just don’t let the memories fester in the back of your mind until you start to feel isolated. Express them. 2. Seek out something from your time abroad at home. It’s...
A Surprise Trip, a Contest, and Summer Travel Plans!

A Surprise Trip, a Contest, and Summer Travel Plans!

This post was last updated on August 6th, 2014When this post goes live, we will have just touched down in our home state of North Carolina. After 82 days of epic adventures through Europe, we’re excited to be home—and to get rid of our lumpy snow clothes we’ve been lugging around. We won’t even have enough time to unpack our bags though, because in less than 24 hours we jump back on a plane to venture to a new country. And it’s one we have been dying to visit for quite some time now. Where is it we’re going? We’re off to Canada for a jam-packed five-day road trip!   The Great Coast Road Trip We both have a special place in our hearts devoted just to road trips. (After all, the whole purpose of starting A Cruising Couple was to document our honeymoon road trip across the United States.) So when Coast Hotels reached out to us and asked if we wanted to participate in a leg of the Great Coast Road Trip, we replied with a hearty: HECK YES! Our first time in Seattle during our honeymoon road trip. This is where we’ll be finishing our leg of the Great Coast Road Trip. The trip is part of a 35-day campaign hosted by Coast Hotels that takes a fleet of eight sets of bloggers across Canada and down the U.S. West Coast. For our leg of the trip we’ll be cruising through British Colombia, with stops in Tsawwassen, Nanaimo and Victoria, ending the tour with a quick stop in Seattle to pass the car on to the...
10 Ways to Keep the Love Alive on the Road – Tips for Traveling Couples

10 Ways to Keep the Love Alive on the Road – Tips for Traveling Couples

This post was last updated on September 18th, 2014We’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately. In the process, we’ve noticed a bit of a trend: everyone wants traveling couples to share their tips for maintaining a healthy and happy relationship on the road.   We decided to really give it some thought. What advice can we offer to other couples, especially if they are about to travel together for the first time? We’re not claiming to be experts by any means, but we have been traveling or living abroad as a couple for nearly three years—or the entire duration of our married lives—so we do have a bit of practice.   A lot of what we’ve learned is simply common courtesy and can be applied to relationships at all times, nomadic or not. Other tips you might find more applicable if you’ve ever been in a bit of a (mis)adventure with your significant other. Regardless, our hope is that these tips don’t just help you tolerate one another, but actually show you that travel can make your relationship stronger.   As a bonus, we’ve included a smattering of adorable photos of the two of us around the world. So there’s that. 10 Ways to Keep the Love Alive on the Road   1. Split Up Responsibilities   There’s a lot that goes into planning and successfully implementing a trip. If you have someone to share the load with, then do it! As we’ve learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses, we’ve been able to more effectively and happily split up what needs to get done, both in our travels...