3rd Mar 2012 1:50pm | By Editor
TNT travel editor Laura Chubb’s adventurous nature has taken her to some far-flung corners of the globe, but, she says, having a fat wallet isn’t necessarily the key to having the best experience.
In fact, Chubb’s advice is ‘the cheaper the better’.
“My general theory is: the less money you spend, the more experiences you have,” she told today’s TNT Travel Show 2012 at Earl’s Court.
“For me, the more of a tight arse you are, if you do things like eat where locals eat and use public transport, you’re not just paying tourist dollars for tourist experiences.
“More money you spend, if you just sit by the pool at a five star hotel, eating club sandwiches all day, not getting to the heart of the place.”
Somewhat surprisingly, Chubb’s first recommendation is Dubai – a place known for its hotels, beaches, malls, WAGS.
However, with an expat population of 83 per cent, it’s one of the world’s biggest cultural melting pots - more so than New York, according to Chubb.
“Of all these communities, very few are doing the expensive stuff, with exception of Russians, of course.
“Fifty one per cent of the expats are Indian, so forget Brick Lane - Dubai’s the best place to get curry in world. You’ll pay £2 and every region of India is represented.”
Chubb’s top recommendations are the neighbourhoods of Karama, Bur Dubai, Satwa and Deira.
She also recommends seeking out Deira’s underground fight club, held behind the mosque,behind the local fish market each Friday. Indian and Pakistani community gather at the week’s end to wrestle in a car park.
It may sound dodgy, but it’s not.
“They invited us to the front they were so pleased to see us. It was odd but also really, really cool, very surreal and also completely free."
Chubb’s second budget destination is New York. But avoid Manhattan, she says, and head to Brooklyn, which is “a lot cooler”.
Hit the independent bars such as Barcade, which serves only micro brews.
“US beer is pretty good,” Chubb says.” In New York, especially in Brooklyn, there’s plenty of palces that sell micro brews, so get out among the hipsters and sample some.”
Chubb also recommends Brooklyn Breweries – “just save the 15 per cent chocolate stout until the end of your day. It’s pretty potent.”
In terms of food while in Brooklyn, enjoy the burgeoning Southern soul food movement – “fried chicken, KFC you’ll never go in again” – and head to institutions Grits And Biscuts, Pies And Thighs, and The Commodore, where you’ll be full for a week $15 a head.
In Crown Heights, head to Dutch Boy Burger for duck fat Sundays, which you can wash down with a bourbon milkshake
When you’re not stuffing yourself, Chubb suggests the Brooklyn Bowl, for live music and bowling; the Brooklyn museum, featuring mostly grassroots exhibitions and dance performances; and the Brooklyn Academy of music, for music and theatre.
“You’d be hard pushed to argue it’s a budget trip, but if you approach it backpacker style, fish for a late deal and be flexible, you’ll find you can save plenty of cash,” she says.
“Experiences vary widely. You can pay a grand and get a small boat, crappy cabin
“We waited around in Guayaqil and ended up on a five-star, five-day cruise for £ 760.
“The guy we booked a late deal with offered us his apartment before we left. We wouldn’t have accepted in London, but when you’re backpacking anything goes. He even gave us a lift to the airport next morning .
“Through being patient and social we managed to save a significant amount of money.
“Remember, the cheaper you are, the more experiences you will open yourself up to.”
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