Budget Travel

Your membership includes:

  • Access to our exclusive booking platform with private rates.
  • Newsletters with weekend getaways, trip ideas, deals & tips.
  • Sweepstakes alerts and more...
  • Don’t have an account?Get a FREE trial membership today. No credit card needed. Sign up now.
  • FREE trial membership. No credit card needed. Limited time only. Already have an account? Log in here.
    By creating an account, you agree to our Terms of Service and have read and understood the Privacy Policy
Close banner

Is The Caribbean Cleaner In 2012?

By Budget Travel
updated September 29, 2021
Courtesy <a href="http://www.budgettravel.com/feature/the-caribbean-quickie,356/" target="_blank">Brooke Slezak</a>

For anyone who has cherished memories of the turquoise waters and white–sand beaches of a Caribbean cruise, it’s a major downer to learn that cruise ships regularly dumped massive amounts of garbage—including ground–up glass, plastic and cardboard packaging, solid waste, and rags—into the open sea.

While other popular cruise sites—including the North and Baltic seas, the Persian Gulf, and the Mediterranean—were protected from such pollution, the Caribbean did not have to abide by a United Nations dumping ban because most of the islands claimed not to have the capacity to treat solid waste themselves. Of course, some islands paid a high price for turning a blind eye to garbage disposal when open water, harbors, and beaches played host to unsightly visitors like discarded milk cartons, and seaweed became entangled in garbage.

But in May of 2011, the UN’s International Maritime Organization (which includes representatives from more than 150 nations and sets standards and adopts regulations for all international vessels) declared that Caribbean countries are indeed ready to take on the responsibility of treating waste. The IMO issued garbage–disposal provisions specific to the Caribbean, issuing a ban on the disposal of plastics (including ropes, fishing nets, garbage bags, and incinerated plastic), paper products, rags, glass, metal, and packing materials. In addition, solid food must be disposed of at least 12 nautical miles from land and ground food at least three nautical miles from land.

We’re curious to hear what your experience has been: Have you noticed pollution in the Caribbean? If so, have you seen significant improvement in the past year?

—Robert Firpo–Cappiello


Nonstop Caribbean Map: Fly Right to the Beach

7 Spots in Nassau Every Cruiser Should See

10 Most–Visited Caribbean Islands

Keep reading

Tokyo's Newest Landmark Opens May 22

The 2,100&ndash;foot&ndash;tall Tokyo SkyTree tower opens next week and gives visitors panoramic views of the Japanese city from incredible heights. Tokyo is a city full of impressive skyscrapers, and the newest tower is striking indeed. Standing at 2,100 feet, the thin white Tokyo SkyTree will serve as a broadcasting tower. It is Guinness&ndash;certified as the tallest tower in the world and the second tallest building behind Dubai's Burj Khalifa (which is 617 feet taller). The real reason to be excited is the observation decks with spectacular views of the city. Hope you aren't afraid of heights, though. The first level observation deck is on the 445th floor (1,148 feet up), and you will have 360&ndash;degree views of Tokyo from behind 200&ndash;inch&ndash;thick glass windows. On a clear day, the visibility will be 43 miles! There will also be a café and an upscale French&ndash;fusion restaurant. If you want to get even higher, go up five floors&mdash;and another 328 feet&mdash;via a glass tube (another elevator you need to see to believe). To put that in perspective, the highest observation deck at the Empire State Building is on the 102nd floor, and the Seattle Space Needle's deck is only 520 feet above the ground&mdash;about a third the height of the SkyTree's top deck! From opening day on May 22 until July 10, tickets will only be available by lottery and need to be purchased by a Japan&ndash;issued credit card (ie residents only). Tickets open to everyone on July 11 through the box office, and start at about $13 for adults and $4 for children. The tower will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL 13 Most Beautiful Temples Eat Like a Local: Tokyo 12 Restaurants With Spectacular Views


Flying Through The World's Busiest Airport Just Got A Little Easier

Thanks to a new terminal at Hartsfield&ndash;Jackson Atlanta International Airport, there's no reason to dread connecting in Atlanta. Connecting through Atlanta has long been a necessary evil&mdash;it's a Delta hub, as well as AirTran (and soon to be Southwest, once that merger is finalized). But it just got a little less evil. The new Maynard Jackson international terminal, which opened on May 16, was designed to alleviate some of the congestion, as well as add 12 new international gates&mdash;freeing up more space for domestic flights. A new entrance and security checkpoint were also added for international travelers and the baggage&ndash;claim process for those connecting from outside the U.S. has been streamlined. Not only is the terminal more efficient, it's also nice to look at. Huge windows let in lots of light, and a city ordinance demanded that 1% of the $1.4 billion cost was put towards public art (after you pass through security, look for the conical piece made up of thousands of Swarovski crystals). Are you excited about an easier flight through Atlanta? MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL 11 Surprisingly Lovable Airlines TSA Misstep Causes Teen to Lose Pricey Medical Equipment Passengers On Virgin Atlantic Will Soon Be Able To Use Cell Phones In-Flight


City Passes in Italy: Worth It or Not?

Tracking down amazing Real Deals is a big part of my job here at Budget Travel, and involves breaking down the details to make sure travelers are really getting the most for their money. I decided to apply the same logic when planning out my family’s first vacation to Italy—especially when we kept running into deals that sounded too good to be true. Take the city cards and passes for Florence, Venice, and Rome. The basic idea behind them: pay a lump sum and get access to museums, historic sites, and galleries—and sometimes city buses or metro—for a discounted price rather than buying all those tickets separately. Discounts and the ability to skip enormous lines? Sounds good to me. But are they really a good deal? I looked into it and here is what I found: Firenze Card (The Florence Card) Price: $80 per person. Where you can buy it: Through the website or at any of these participating attractions. How it works: The Florence Card covers admission at 67 of the city's museums, galleries, historical villas, and gardens as well as a three–day transit pass. It remains active for 72 hours, and the clock starts when you visit your first sight. One caveat: You can only visit each place once. So savor your time with David. The breakdown: Florence's two most popular museums, the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Gallery, cost $25 and $9 respectively to visit. A three–day transit ticket costs $18 per person, so entrance fees to the two must–see museums plus the transit pass already brings you to $56. For just $28 more, you get free access to 65 more sights. The verdict: Deal! VeneziaUnica City Pass (The Venice Card) Price: $44 per person over age 30; $33 for those ages 6 to 29. Where you can buy it: Create your own card online with options that will make the most of your trip, whether you're planning to use public transit or just walk and see the various museums of Vence. You can also find the City Pass at any of these Hello Venezia ticket offices, at tourism agencies in the Mestre and Santa Lucia train stations, or at Marco Polo Airport. How it works: You’ll get admission to the Doge’s Palace, Jewish Museum, 16 Chorus Churches, and the city’s 10 Civic Museums, plus discounts on parking outside the historic center, tours, concerts, and at shops. Plus you can take your time—the card stays active for seven days. The breakdown: A regular ticket to the Doge’s Palace costs $27 and includes admission to the other 10 Civic Museums if you purchase the Museum Pass instead. A Chorus Pass will give you entry to 16 churches for another $13. Admission to the Jewish Museum is a mere $4 more, bringing your total to $44 without the Venice Card. For the same price, you'll have access to more museums and have seven days to use it. The verdict: Deal—if you're planning to museum-hop and see everything the Venice Pass has to offer. Roma Pass (The Rome Card) Price: $40 per person. Where you can buy it: Through the website or at any participating attraction. How it works: The Roma Pass covers entrance fees to your choice of two participating museums or archaeological sites, discounted admission to more listed sites, and free use of city transit. Most of the city's attractions are covered, but note that the Vatican Museums are not part of the deal. The breakdown: One regular ticket to the Coliseum works for two days and includes admission to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill for $26, while a three–day transit pass will set you back $18. For $4 less, you might as well take advantage of the discounts and access to another free museum. And you won't have to wait in line at the Coliseum and other typically overcrowded attractions. Which is priceless. The verdict: Deal! *Prices shown here are in USD, are based on one adult, and include taxes and fees when purchased online. Euro–dollar conversions are shown on xe.com from August 17, 2015, and may vary over time.


7 Best (And Worst) Museums To Visit On An Empty Stomach

Some folks plan whole trips around a restaurant (or ten), a signature dish, or an edible obsession. (I once vowed to eat gelato three times a day during an 11&ndash;day trip through Italy with a girlfriend&mdash;and we both held up our end of the bargain.) But simply eating something doesn’t always deliver context&mdash;which is what makes the food part of travel so fascinating, and why we devote a whole issue of our magazine to the topic each year (find our May/June Food Issue on newsstands now!). So here, we present seven museums across the country that have built entire exhibitions around a type of cuisine, a way of eating, or even a single ingredient. (Some even let you try the goods, too.) No, it’s not the same as eating your way through the best little pastry shops in Paris&mdash;but you just might learn something. The American Museum of Natural History in New York is staging a monthly series called “Adventures in the Global Kitchen,” featuring themed lectures and tastings on a different topic each month. The next one, on May 3, covers the cultural history of tequila and chilies ($30); Juan Carlos Aguirre from Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture Without Borders and Courtenay Greenleaf of Richard Sandoval Restaurants are running the presentation, which includes samples of both of the substances in question (score!). The theme for June: Tiki drinks! Opening May 25 and running through September 2, 2012, “Beer Here: Brewing New York's History” at the New York Historical Society tells the story of both the production and consumption of beer in New York from colonial times through Prohibition and on to the present day. (Fun fact: In the mid&ndash;1800s, New York state was the top producer of hops in the whole country!) Visitors will learn about the nutritional content of colonial&ndash;era beer, the chain of technological advances in brewing, and the old&ndash;time advertisements and slogans used by past New York brewers. The best part: At the end of the exhibition, there’s a pop&ndash;up beer hall, where, on Saturdays throughout the summer, half&ndash;hour beer tasting events ($35) will be held at 2pm and 4pm, led by brewers and brewery owners from in&ndash;state labels like Kelso Beer Co., Keegan Ales, Ithaca Beer Company, and Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. Through June 10, the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington in Seattle has “Hungry Planet: What the World Eats,” a fascinating (and slightly voyeuristic) presentation of the eating habits of families in 10 countries. The photo&ndash;driven exhibit was culled from Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio’s even wider&ndash;reaching project from a few years back, in which they photographed 600 meals eaten by 30 families in 24 countries&mdash;including a snapshot of each household with a week’s worth of groceries laid out next to them. The disparities from one group to the next are nothing less than shocking&mdash;and will likely make you reconsider what you put in the cart on your next visit to the supermarket. In Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service collaborated on “Sweet and Sour,” an examination of the history of Chinese food in the United States. The exhibit’s cache of photographs, vintage signs, cooking and eating utensils, and memorabilia will be on view in Washington through the end of 2012, before it moves on to its next location (which is still to be determined). One surprise addition to the trove: The Virginia Mericle Menu Collection, a shipment of more than 4,500 Chinese&ndash;restaurant menus amassed over the course of Mericle’s lifetime, was donated to the museum by her daughter, Virginia Henderson, after Mericle’s death in 2009. Another ode to the culinary contributions of immigrant groups is on display through August 3 in Birmingham, Alabama’s Vulcan Park and Museum: “Beyond Barbecue and Baklava: The Impact of Greek Immigrants on Birmingham’s Culture and Cuisine.” Its centerpiece is the 1946 neon sign from the city’s iconic Pete’s Famous Hot Dogs&mdash;now a popular photo op for visitors to the museum&mdash;which is supplemented with photos and mementos from 100 years of Greek restaurants citywide. At first glance, a new exhibit at New Haven, Connecticut’s Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, might make you lose your appetite. “Big Food: Health, Culture, and the Evolution of Eating” (through December 2, 2012) takes a hard look at the American diet as it stands today&mdash;as well as the societal and economic factors that have shaped it over time. It’s part of a months&ndash;long program that incorporates tough&ndash;love teaching tools, documentary screenings, and weighty lectures&mdash;on the politics of the “sugar pandemic”; on which cultures have the healthiest diets; on the sinister secrets of food advertising. But the program’s organizers balance out the bad news with fun, like a tasting night with local chefs on May 10, and a healthy&ndash;food&ndash;focused Fiesta Latina in October. (The schedule is still being updated, so check Peabody.yale.edu for more events.) If that’s too much reality for you, then just mark your calendars for December 9, 2012, when the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe cuts the ribbon on its exhibit “New World Cuisine: The Histories of Chocolate, Maté y Mas,” which looks at the earliest imports and exports of foods to and from the Americas, and the roles played by specific products (in particular, drinks made from chocolate and maté) that Europeans went crazy for. How do you say “chocoholic” in French? MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL 15 International Food Etiquette Rules That Might Surprise You Confessions of...A New York Street&ndash;Food Vendor America's Best Food Regions