When you’re a foreigner in a new city, it can be hard to know how to get the most out of your precious time and travel money. Is it best to stick to the obvious list of attractions? Or turn down a few side streets for a more authentic (and maybe cheaper) glimpse of your destination?
As any seasoned traveller knows, it’s the insider local tips that can really make a trip. So here are few to help you navigate some of the world's most famous tourist hotspots and make up your own mind about what to see and do.
Times Square, New York City | USD
The buzz of New York City comes to an undeniable climax when you’re standing at the centre of Times Square. It’s one of the world’s most Instagrammed spots, and is without a doubt one of the most popular things to see in New York.
And believe it or not, you can enjoy the culture of Times Square without a hefty price tag. You can still get a taste of NYC entertainment on the streets themselves. There are incredible street entertainers and buskers everywhere, from the iconic Naked Cowboy (yes, even in winter) to live break-dancing and boom-boxing.
Then duck into Restaurant Row – the perfect combination of hidden bars and Broadway talent. It’s the perfect spot to soak up some authentic Times Square vibes without the insane Broadway ticket prices (and queues).
You’ll find more helpful travel money tips in our USA Travel Money Destination Guide.
Blarney Stone, Ireland | EURO
A visit to Blarney Castle and kissing the Blarney Stone is high on most people’s to-do in Ireland. Built nearly 600 years ago by Cormac MacCarthy (one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains), millions of travellers have stopped by for their turn to get the gift of the gab. As legend has it, one kiss and you’ll be bestowed with the gift of eloquence.
What most people don’t know until they get there is just how beautiful the surrounding countryside is. It’s a haven of lush rolling lands, with countless other castles waiting to be discovered. And the best thing is, they’re absolutely free to tour!
Take Macroom Castle, once home to Admiral Sir William Penn (the father of the founder of Pennsylvania). Or even Barryscourt Castle, a 16th century gem with a replica of a medieval garden. Neither will cost you a cent, but are guaranteed to fill you with absolute wonder.
Want to learn more? Read our Ireland Travel Money Destination Guide.
Damnoen Sauak Floating Market, Bangkok | THB
One of the best things about shopping in Bangkok is the city’s interesting floating market culture. Climbing aboard a rowboat or long-tail boat to float from stall holder to stall holder is a unique experience. Damnoen Saduak is perhaps the most well-known floating market in all of Thailand, but it’s also the one guaranteed to be jam-packed with tourists.
For a more authentic experience on the water, consider one of the less touristy options. Tha Kha is a lovely floating market and much more tranquil, offering a true glimpse of Thai rural living. You may also enjoy the Thai desserts on offer at Bang Nam Phueng, the fresh seafood at Bang Kla, or the unusual fruit and vegetables on offer at Khlong Lat Mayom. But be prepared to haggle for the best prices possible!
For more travel money tips, check out our Thailand Destination Guide.
The Peak, Hong Kong | HKD
All it takes is one look at the Hong Kong skyline, and you’ll be hooked. And the best place to soak in the view is from the top of Victoria Peak. Sadly though, this typically involves a hefty ticket price, and a long time waiting in a queue. There has to be a better way!
And there is! On the other side of Victoria Harbour, on the Kowloon Peninsula, the Avenue of Stars traces the water’s edge. While meandering along the star-studded walk, you’ll catch beautiful city skyline views looking back over Hong Kong Island. No matter whether it’s sunset or night-time when you wander through, you’ll definitely want an oxygen tank handy – because your breath will be taken away.
Read more in our Hong Kong Travel Money Destination Guide.
Moulin Rouge, France | EURO
A quintessential thing to do in Paris is, of course, head to the famed Moulin Rouge. Opened in 1889 with its trademark red windmill, lavish décor and gorgeous dancers, it is without a doubt the most famous cabaret venue in the world. But while the Cancun might have been invented here, it’s not the only place in Paris bustling with atmosphere.
For a cabaret experience that’s quite similar, try Le Paradis Latin, which offers a very similar style show to Moulin Rouge. Le Crazy Horse is another great choice, where you could catch stars like Dita von Teese or Arielle Dombasle.
For more advice on how to spend your time and money, chat to any of the FXperts at your local Travel Money Nz store.
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