All posts by Zoey Molnar

Health Benefits of Wine

Wine is heralded as the sophisticated drink of the ages. Drinking wine has been associated with people considered cultured and research shows that wine drinkers have higher IQs than that of people who drink different alcoholic beverages. The reason for this association with elegance stems back to the days when wine was considered for the upper classes because of its expense. Wine, comparative to beer, takes longer to manufacture and one acre of grapes will produce less wine than an acre of barley. However, research is showing new evidence that drinking wine isn’t just to look classy; it’s beneficial for your health too.

Nutrition of Wine

Wine has a variety of nutrients, though most of the time you won’t find the nutrition on a wine bottle label. This is partly due to the fact that the US Food and Drug Administration doesn't like to classify alcohol as a daily part of nutrition. The other reason is that identifying the exact nutritional properties of wine is difficult because it requires over 200 phenolic compounds to be documented within a myriad of confines (Source1). However, research is discovering new nutritional facts about wine every day.

Wine itself comes from fermented grapes which contain many vitamins and minerals. When wine is created, many of these nutrients carry over. Wine contains vitamin B, potassium, iron, manganese, fluoride, and phosphorus. These different vitamins aid in giving you energy, strengthening bones, and benefit the brain, liver, and nervous system (Source2). Wine also contains many antioxidants which help combat the damages of aging and may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Polyphenols, quercetin, and resveratrol are some of the active principles in wine, especially red wine, that have shown great promise in researched health benefits (Source3).

Polyphenols are an antioxidant found in grapes and other foods like legumes and green tea. The most common type of polyphenol is flavonoids. The tannins found in red wine have a variety of flavonoid polyphenols (Source4). Quercetin is another antioxidant which protects muscles and the heart (Source3). It is important to note that research may show more health benefits to drinking red wine than white wine.

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a polyphenol in wine that research has shown to have a high amount of health benefits. Resveratrol has antioxidant properties that are believed to aid in circulation, reduce the chance of blood clots, improve brain function in learning, mood, and memory, along with treating inflammation. It is also effective in treating depression. Resveratrol even produces similar health effects as what you would experience from exercise. This discovery could be a major breakthrough for people who are unable to exercise with health conditions that require exercise (Source4).

Resveratrol was first found to be a cancer preventative. Using its antioxidant capabilities, it can prevent or delay a score of chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, other neurodegenerative diseases, and possibly osteoporosis. Resveratrol is mainly found to aid in preventing age-related disorders (Source5Source6). However, some studies found that the resveratrol in wine was not enough for significant benefits and a supplementation was suggested instead. You should also be aware that red wine contains much higher amounts of resveratrol than white wine because it is fermented longer (Source7).

Improving Your Heart

Reducing the risk of heart disease and mortality due to a heart attack is one of the most well-backed arguments for the health benefits of wine. The case for wine began with something called the “French Paradox” (Source8). Unless you live in France, you may not be aware of the extremely low heart-attack rate there. Researchers decided to investigate this and found that between France and Northern Ireland, French men had a low risk of ischaemic heart disease because of their regular, moderate drinking versus the binge-drinking more prevalent in the Irish Lifestyle (Source9).

While much research has shown any alcohol drunk in low to moderate amounts does reduce your risk of heart disease, several studies show that wine is the best alcohol with the most improvement. More in-depth studies show that resveratrol and proanthocyanidin are mainly responsible for the protection of your heart through wine (Source10). The way that resveratrol accomplishes this is by first maintaining and protecting the heart muscle and also lowering your chance of developing blood clots. By using its antioxidant properties, resveratrol fights cell death and oxidative stress to protect the heart against protein breakdown. It also has an antithrombotic effect which expands blood vessels to aid in circulation (Source4).

Lowering the Risk of Cancer

Research has shown wine to reduce the risk of colon, ovarian, prostate carcinoma, and basal cell cancer. Studies have shown that having one glass a day can lower your risk of cancer in your esophagus, in your lungs, and even lower your chance of relapsing or developing new cancer during the five year period after diagnosis. A glass of wine a day may not just help you prevent cancer; it may actually help you defeat it too! The reason for this is our favorite wine compound, resveratrol (Source11). Resveratrol can suppress the growth of cancer tumors and kill cancer cells. Evidence suggests that Resveratrol actually binds to the DNA of a cell to prevent inflammation and target malignant cells to destroy them (Source12).

Reducing the Dangers of Aging

We all hate the idea of aging, but what you might hate even more are the numerous dangers that come with it, from dementia to losing eyesight to strokes. Wine may be the key to change a lot of that. Aging happens when oxidation of the cells occurs which damages the cell and the DNA. Because of wine’s high amount of antioxidants, a light to moderate daily drink of wine could protect your cells and DNA from oxidizing. Research first believed that this effect was due to the ethanol in alcohol. However, a study on the oxidation of cholesterol used red wine, white wine, and ethanol. Red wine showed the effect of inhibiting cell oxidation (Source13).

Other studies which compared the health benefits of alcohols found that wine could protect you from a stroke better than other alcohols like beer and spirits. Their belief was that the compounds in wine worked together with the ethanol to produce better results (Source14). Wine was found to lower the risk of dementia, prevent age-related decline in cholesterol levels and inflammation, and even to activate genes that sustain your life longer (Source15,Source16,Source17).

Type II Diabetes Benefits

Type II diabetes is a chronic illness that makes it hard to keep blood sugars low, maintain a healthy weight, and continue a healthy life. Sufferers often have to keep very strict diets along with several medications. However, wine on a regular moderate basis can actually help prevent diabetes and help keep it under control as well. Several studies on rats have shown promise as the resveratrol in wine lowered both blood glucose and triglyceride numbers. Other studies showed that it reduced the diabetic neuropathic pain that many people with diabetes struggle with (Source18). Red wine has also shown benefits in lessening insulin resistance which in turn, also lowers blood sugar levels (Source19). While wine has been shown through several studies to improve these numbers, it is also important to note that the biggest improvement was alongside a healthy diet (Source20)

Protect Your Teeth

Many of us were taught from an early age to brush your teeth every day. However, sometimes that is not enough to get rid of the bacteria on our teeth. Bacteria can into a biofilm which creates plaque. Aside from a dentist scraping it off our teeth, plaque can be difficult to get rid of. Even fluoride and antimicrobial rinses may not be enough. The great news is a study came out with evidence to show that red wine can help get rid of the pesky bacteria. All of the solutions using red wine, even dealcoholized red wine showed almost complete and early removal of the plaque bacteria (Source21). Apparently, a glass of red wine a day could keep the dentist away too!

Wine has a myriad of health benefits, especially red wine. Research continues to show promising results in that area, even to the point of possibly using components such as resveratrol as a supplement to guard your heart, brain, and against cancer.

It blows me away how much a few fermented grapes can accomplish. However, with any alcohol, the benefits can become hazards if you drink too much. Moderation is usually defined as two glasses for men and one glass for women of five ounces of wine. Drinking more than this is not recommended as it could give you a higher risk for diseases. Wine isn’t just for looking classy anymore; it’s for keeping you healthy.

Health Benefits of Beer

Beer is the number one alcoholic drink worldwide and the third most popular drink just under water and tea. It is common for social gatherings, restaurants, sporting events, even one round of television commercials can offer various beer choices. The great thing about beer is because of its commonality, there are hundreds of varieties and options for you to choose. You can opt for a lighter beer, a stronger one, a fruity one, a spicy one, and all the variants in between. However, this is not even the best thing that I love about beer. As much diversity comes from making beer itself, there are just as many health benefits of drinking beer.

Nutrition of Beer

Beer is an alcoholic beverage typically made from a brew of water, grain, and hops which is then fermented with yeast. Usually made with malted barley, some brewers also use wheat, maize, or rice. Unique beers may also add fruits, herbs, and spices. While beer is known for its calorie content and blamed for the so-called “beer belly,” beer actually has nutritional value that is healthy for you. To begin with, beer contains protein and vitamin B, even more than wine. It also has antioxidants matching the amount of wine through the specific content differs because of the different ingredients used to produce the drinks (Source).

Beer also contains xanthohumol and related prenylflavonoids. Xanthohumol has recently been in studies as a cancer chemopreventive agent. The prenylflavonoids have shown promise in prevention or treatment of menopausal symptoms, including ‘hot flashes’ and osteoporosis (Source). These few benefits are just the beginning of what drinking beer can do.

Protect Your Heart

Out of all the research around beer, you will find that lowering your risk of heart attack is the number one research-supported health benefit of drinking beer. One study showed that past, light, moderate, and heavy drinkers experienced slower decreased in good cholesterol known as HDL. The majority of studies find that light-to-moderate drink is inversely related to the risk of heart disease. That means you are helping keep your heart healthy by drinking one beer a day or about 330 mL, an amount considered a moderate consumption. Drinking that much beer can lower your “bad cholesterol and increase your “good” cholesterol (Source). While the studies have been over multiple alcohols and one review even claims that the beneficial effects are due more to the ethanol content than the components of each type of drink, the results of a study done in China found slower HDL cholesterol decreases were greater in beer.

Prevent Gallstones

Gallstones are a rather common occurrence, happening in about one of three women and one in six men. Gallstones, form in the gallbladder, are tiny hardened deposits of bile and cholesterol. There are several causes of gallstones, including obesity, pregnancy, and some medications. However, in a study published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, research suggested that alcohol may reduce the cholesterol in the digestive fluids which gallstones form from (Source). ​

Conducted with men and women aged 40 through 74 years old, the participants were studied for 14 years for signs of gallstones. What they discovered was that for every unit of alcohol consumed per week, the risk of gallstones decreased by 3%. That’s pretty incredible! Unfortunately, they didn’t specify the alcohol used, but given the large sample and the length of time, I am sure there were plenty of beer drinkers among the lot. I wonder if they knew how healthy it was for them!

Control Type II Diabetes

For those who have type II diabetes, you may be happy to hear that drinking a glass of beer every day could help you to keep in under control. For those who don’t, you might be happier to hear that a glass of beer daily can lower your risk for diabetes by 53% (Source). The most common cause of type II diabetes is a pancreas that does not make insulin properly. Beer can fight this, lowering fasting glucose and reducing insulin resistance (Source). One of the studies did find that the protective effect of the beer was more prominent among individuals who were following a strict Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats such as olive oil, and white meat such as fish. Unfortunately, the same health benefits of beer were not found for type I diabetes.

Strengthening Bones

We all know that milk is promoted for its calcium to build strong bones, but did you know that beer also strengthens bones? Silicon may sound suspiciously like a dangerous chemical, but it is actually extremely important for your bones. Silicon is needed for bone formation and for bone health. If your daily consumption of silicon is high, then you will have higher bone mineral density. So where does beer fit into this? Beer actually contains silicon and is claimed to be one of the richest sources of dietary silicon. One study measured the amount of silicon in beer which varied from 6.4 to 56.6 mg per liter. Considering you only need 5-10 mg a day, a glass of beer should contain enough. If you're looking to optimize your intake, beers derived from barley will tend to contain more silicon than a wheat-based beer (Source).

Healthy Eyes

Another beer health benefit that may come as a surprise is health benefits for your eyes. A study published in the book Comprehensive Handbook of Alcohol Related Pathology found that consuming moderate amounts of alcohol, including beer, lowers risks of eye diseases. Having less than 3 drinks a day will help you to avoid cataracts and other eye diseases caused by aging. The reasoning behind this actually has to deal with the oxidation process of aging. As the body ages, it receives more oxidative damage. Antioxidants protect the body from this damage. Beer not only contains antioxidants but also has been shown to increase antioxidant activity in the plasma of a cell, protecting you from the damages of aging and aging eyes (Source).

Mental Health Benefits

While excessive drinking can cause problems with mental health, studies have shown improvements in stress, mood, lowering of depression, and lowering risks of neurodegenerative diseases can be found through frequent moderate beer consumption. Most of us don’t need a scientific study to know that low to moderate beer consumption can make us feel happier, affectionate, and care-free. However, beer can also reduce stress, tension, and depression. It can also benefit other brain functions like short-term memory and problem-solving abilities (Source). Another study, looking further into the antioxidant capabilities of beer, found research supporting alcohol in the prevention of dementia and benefit oxidative stress. One further study supports these findings by also pointing to beer’s prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.

Everything in Moderation

Of course, whatever the health benefits, too much of anything is a bad thing. It is important to keep moderation as a key idea when drinking beer. While there is no universally accepted standard, one to two drinks of 12 fluid ounces seems to be the most common amount. Usually women are recommended to consume less than men because of the typical difference of body-mass index between men and women. If you are going by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, then a moderate amount of beer would be two glasses for men and one glass for women of 12 fluid ounces of beer daily. The important thing to keep in mind is balancing your drinking in a way that uses the health benefits with none of the risks (Source).

Beer is full of great health benefits, especially for protecting your heart. It is full of antioxidants which protect you against the damages of aging while also providing you with protein and vitamins. While heavy drinking and binge drinking aren’t recommended and have been found to have the opposite effects of these health benefits, light to moderate drinking, either frequently or daily, can help with type II diabetes, stress, mental health, prevent gallstones, and build strong bones. Now, go enjoy your beer benefits by toasting with a glass of your favorite brand!

How To Find Cheap Flights?

If you are like me you love to travel, exploring new places and revisiting old favorite haunts. In my 20s, it was harder to fulfill my wanderlust with a lighter wallet, so I learned a few tricks to maximize my trips while minimizing the cost. In fact, traveling almost anywhere in the world is easier and cheaper, thanks to the world wide web.

A few extra clicks and tricks can save you hundreds of dollars in up front and hidden fees. If you put in a little work and have a little flexibility, these travel tips and hacks can get you on your way. Where do you want to go first? Follow my advice and hit the skies.

1. Know How to Search...

There are a number of search engines, and I've tried them all. However, all are not equal. Here are some of my favorites:

2. ...But Search in Secret!

Have you ever done a flight search, and then minutes later you check again and the prices have gone up? Does it feel like they are watching you and raising prices just for you? Well, sad to say, that is partially true. Due to the cookies in your browser prices will increase when a route is searched repeatedly. These booking portals and airlines want to scare you into booking your flight quickly. There is a way around this: do your searches incognito.

Here's how to go incognito, and it's very simple:

  • if you use Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, hit Command (or “Control” if using a PC), Shift, “P”.​
  • If you use Safari or Google Chrome, hit Command (or “Control” if using PC), Shift, “N”.

This opens a new browser window where your information is not tracked, so your prices will not be inflated.

Each time you re-open an incognito window, your cookies will be reset. Then make sure you close your windows completely before doing a new search, so your previous searches aren't remembered.

3. Know When to Fly...

Planning ahead for a big trip? Certain times of the year are better than others. Generally, the cheapest times of year to fly are January through early May, and again in September through early December... generally, if kids are in school, it's cheaper and easier to fly. The most expensive times to fly are during peak summer, which is the middle of June through the middle of August. Also, Christmas and New Years are more expensive than other times.

Also, when looking at your desired location, keep in mind that during holidays and festivals travel will be more expensive. So if you are looking to save some money, don't fly to China during the Chinese New Year, to Rio during Carnival, to Dublin during St. Patrick's day, to New Orleans during Mardi Gras, for example.

4. ...And Be Flexible

You've probably heard that Tuesday is the best day to fly to save money. It used to be standard operating procedure for airlines to load their best fare at 2:00pm on a Tuesday, but now thanks to the internet fares are posted throughout the week, and at various times. Your best bet is to do a search for an entire month. The numbers won't lie: sometimes Tuesday is best, sometimes it's Thursday, sometime's it's Saturday.

To truly be flexible, log into your favorite travel website (like the ones I listed above) and enter your departure and arrival cities. Select "one-way" even if you are going round trip, as this will ensure the cheapest days. Then select "depart" and check "whole month." The cheapest option will be clear. Then do the same with your return flight as a "one-way" option.

5. Plan in Advance

Planning a spur of the moment trip to Paris? Wonderful for you, but don't expect any airline deals. If you really want a cheap flight, you need to plan ahead. Flying internationally? Anywhere from two to eight months will give you the best options. If you are flying in the continental United States, one to three months is the best time to book. If you are looking to travel during peak months, add one to two months to this timetable.

6. And Don't Wait until the Last Minute

Do last minute deals pop up? Of course? But you are more likely to be stranded at the airport without an option. Decades ago airlines would slash prices to fill empty seats in the final days before a flight. Now business travelers plan at the last minute and are willing to pay more, so those seats are held at full price (and usually claimed) at the last minute.

7. Go Out of Your Way (Just a bit)

Quick, what's the closest airport to Manhattan? Spoiler: it's LaGuardia. This Queens airport is a short cab ride from all the action in Manhattan. But maybe your travel is cheaper if you fly into JFK or Newark, both slightly further away. Or maybe if you expand outward you can get a cheaper deal. Fly into Stewart Airport (in Newburgh), or Hartford, or Philadelphia, and take a bus or train into New York. Most major cities in the United States and Europe have multiple airport options, so do your research.

If you are willing to make your journey longer, adding a couple of hours travel near your home could result in savings. For example, if you live in Washington D.C. and want to go to Berlin, you could save a lot of money by flying out of New York, Philadelphia, or Boston. A few extra hours on a train or a bus can make your flight time cheaper.

8. Pick a Cheap Airline

Every country has an inexpensive airline for travel. For example, Spirit Airlines in the United States or RyanAir in Europe are no frills airlines. Rates are cheaper, but they get you with additional charges. Checking bags, leg room that doesn't packed you like sardines, an aisle seat, early boarding, and any food options will all come with a mark up. It hasn't happened yet, but in the near future you might even be charged for using the bathroom while on a flight.

9. Layovers

How long are you willing to travel? If you really have the time, adding one or two stops to your itinerary will make your trip much cheaper than flying non-stop. That said, this advice comes with a big warning: make sure your layover isn't too short. If your layover is under three hours, any number of factors (bad weather, different terminals, holiday season) could cause you to miss your connection. And if you book your travel through a travel website instead of directly through the airline's website, your chance of a full refund or exchange is much less likely.

10. Use a Travel Agent

While they seem like a service of olden days, travel agents can help you save money if you are flexible on time and can book in advance. Travel agents have special rates that are unaccessible to the general public. Your best bet is to do your own independent research and bring your findings to a travel agent. They can tell you if they can find you a better rate. Another advantage of travel agents: they can help you extend layovers so you can enjoy a day or more in a new city, rather than just hanging out at the airport. Plus, travel agents know a lot about many places, and can offer suggestions to places you may not know.

11. Get With the Program

All airlines have frequent flyer programs. Take two minutes and sign up. There is literally nothing to lose, as they don't charge for membership. If you travel multiple times a year, you are likely to earn miles at a variety of places. Many airlines allow you to go up to two years without travel before you lose miles. Other airlines allow for you to accrue miles without ever losing miles, no matter how long you go before flights. Open accounts before every flight on a new airline, and down the road your free flights await.

With a little bit of knowledge, patience, and flexibility, you can travel the world without breaking your bank account. There are deals, freebies, and incentives for those who have flexibility with dates, airlines, and destination (and departure) cities. As long as you plan enough in advance, you can find the trip at the budget you desire. This will allow you to travel more often. Soon enough, you can be a seasoned world traveler!

How to Find the Perfect Airbnb Accommodation

With the continuous emergence of new ways to experience vacationing, it is no wonder the marketplace for living accommodations during your stay is constantly changing. Airbnb services are bringing people closer to their place of travel, through the implementation of housing, stays at places that are rich in historical value to that city, and an enriched local experience. These accommodations expand upon more natural settings, limiting the touristy vibes emitted from the traditional hotel space.

These options also offer increased value to the consumer with the creation of additional benefits and lower costs. Locating and researching these accommodation offerings can be cumbersome. To help narrow the selection and reduce the search period we have created a list of items to assist you in this process. Below you'll find some useful strategies to ease this process and detail some aspects that you should be aware of during your search.

1. For Starters: Search Engine Information

One of your biggest friends in the search process is the power of the internet. It is an all-inclusive representation of information that users can get behind. For starters, take a look at the top 20 lists located on the Airbnb web page. For example, the Top 20 Vacation Rentals space offers a narrowed selection for the user. Looking for something a little more obscure? Try the Top 20 Treehouses list that the site offers. If there is a living space offering accommodation to vacationers, odds are Airbnb can categorize your search to a specific living situation.

To sift through the selections even further, the Airbnb site offers certain search categorizations. You can browse by date, number of occupants, location, and other such informative aspects. These aspects can help you ensure you are receiving the best deal, the proper coverage during the four seasons, and other such minor details we often forget to consider when searching.

A basic internet search will also return information that is beneficial to the user. Trip booking sites will offer flash sales and seasonal escapes for users from time to time, so subscribing with some of these larger sources can prove to be a friendly relationship with consumer and advisor. Research also provides you with reviews from other users, which we'll detail more later. User search engines as a tool to answer the basic questions you might have. You might surprise yourself with the additional knowledge base these options possess.

2. Reading the Reviews

The reviews of locations often showcase the good and the bad, leaving nothing to up to chance. Reviews are one of your biggest friends, as they'll detail the aspects you are looking to zero in on. Forbes released a write-up of how the review process is handled for Airbnb. This review process leaves little to speculation, creating accounts that include more details and profound information for the user to scavenge through. The old review system allowed users to post immediate information about their stay, reducing the effectiveness of a review system in this sharing environment.

When placing your search for a prospective place to stay, you will often find a number system of star rating system. These number ranges will vary in values and some will offer certain meaning behind the ratings. These informational tools are often visible on any search engine that carries Airbnb offerings. For more detailed descriptions, a user can often gain a larger insight base of the perspective city they are to visit.

For example, as Halloween approaches, many will flock to areas in Salem, Massachusetts for historical views into the trials and tribulations of witchcraft in the late 1600s. Start by searching for events in that area or museums that you wish to attend. A location search will also return places to stay that enrich this history throughout your soul. Users are often more inclined to create personal accounts of stays during these yearly events, creating a library of information for the user to scroll through. Events and location are two aspects that help to bring you closer to the information base you seek.

3. Location, Location, Location

One of the biggest draws Airbnb accommodations host is their ability to bring consumers closer to entertainment, city life, and other such enriched histories these locations hold. To better gain insight into your surroundings, a quick neighborhood search is recommended. Does this city offer transportation to and from the settings you desire? Are there locations that can offer foot travel instead of having to hail a cab? Is the location within certain distances of a grocery store, hospital, or other such vital establishments? Pinpoint your location and look at this area from an outward scope. Some of the most luxurious locations are often far from certain areas of civilization, severely limiting your resources in time of need or in case of an emergency.

The location search can also put you on track for offerings you might have not previously considered. A stay on the Bayou in New Orleans could offer swamp tours by day and electrifying entertainment by night. This is a useful tool to help you develop your day planner. It can also help you allocate your resources for reaching these certain destinations, taking time for travel, distances from location, and other such traffic inhibitions. Taking your location at-large and envisioning your surroundings can help you create the perfect, most unforgettable experience with Airbnb accommodations.

4. History of Operations

The place you wish to visit might also carry additional guidelines for vacationers and other such informational pieces. Locating the resource tools can be done online and reviews will once again play an essential role to this piece. Some locations have been with Airbnb for years, while others are looking to get their feet wet and gain traction. This is where you will notice the biggest price difference for similar living conditions. The establishments that have welcomed guests for a longer period of time are going to be priced accordingly.

The newer locations might come at a discount, but that also leaves a heightened risk associated with the limited reviews or additional knowledge base. One rule of thumb I always use as a starting point for exploring new accommodation spaces is the location. It can offer a history of public records, detail a neighborhood score, and associate to cost of living. All are important aspects when looking to visit a newly established sharing experience.

The environments that have been with this company for years usually have a web-based homepage for detailing their operations. These resources will be full of guest reviews and accounts, allowing users to gain picturesque insight prior to arrival. They may also detail the history of the home or living space they are renting out. For example, some people wish to stay at locations where prominent figures got their start or have lived at. These historic spaces offer detailed depictions that are often narrowed down to a room-by-room basis. This can create for a unique insight into the history of the location prior to the visit. AirDNA is a tool created by Airbnb to explore their history of analytical and historical data accounts. This information can be tailored to a specific location, enriching your knowledge with datasets that can help explain the history of operations, overall costs, and other such useful information. It also represents a great comparison tool for pinning new establishments against historical operators.

5. Cost of Living

One area where people can often get burned is with the cost of living associated with these areas. The price point for accommodations may seem low, which is good for you but can often lead to underlying issues. Some of the most exotic locations carry the highest cost of living associations. Do some deeper research into this aspect. For example, look at multiple sources of renting locations in the city or town. Compare and contrast these values with the size of the living space, the area where it is located (edge of town, the heart of the city, etc.), and the average median of income in that location. These three aspects will provide to be a useful tool for researching whether the price point is accurate or inflated.

Also, if a deal seems too good to be true, it likely is. Some locations can mask their prices with the limited availability of research options for the user. Some locations are secluded and offer carry mysteries when trying to locate price associations. Greater success will come to those who find themselves in rural areas or areas that hold some sort of trackable surroundings. Information bases and data sets are your best friend in these regards. Try to avoid approaching a situation blind, as this can be a hassle for the consumer. One of the most beneficial tools for calculating the cost of living conditions has been created by Bankrate. This tool offers information down to the price of a cheeseburger in that location, leaving it as detailed and mystery-free as cost of living associations come. Use this tool to compare prospective locations or to associate the costs to your day-to-day life.

Conclusion

While this list is not all-inclusive, it is an exhaustive collection of information the Airbnb traveler will find useful. Remember to exhaust all resources prior to booking. This means assessing the neighborhood, calculating means of cost, paging through reviews, and gaining additional insight into the history of the place of living. These tools will be useful in presenting you with the information you can use to tailor to your trip.

It can also help to create a detailed planner into your days, from day to night. Airbnb is an incredible resource that will continue to gain traction. Users utilize this service every day, making it a safe and unique way of trailing off from the traditional hotel into some of the most exotic and historic locations across the country.

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Why should you come to Budapest for a stag do experience?

A little country with lovely people

Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The people are very nice and helpful to people who come from abroad to visit. The city has both old-time features and newer ones too, with its monumental buildings and modern structures of the 21st century.

We love our Hungarian identity, but we are open minded to new things. As a local guy I always like to get to know new people and meet new friends, whether they are from my country or foreigners.

The majority of my friends are from the capital city, especially from the midtown. Nowadays the city is going through a ton of changes. Hundreds of pubs, nightclubs and restaurants are opening daily, giving you plenty of chances to feel entertained by so many possibilities at a very low price.

Budapest is the city of youngsters

We adore this city because our life is always on the move. We love spending our days in our beautiful parks or just sitting down and having a drink in some of our special ruin bars and flirting with girls all day long.

There are a lot of activities you can try when you come to visit us. If it’s a stag do weekend, you are very lucky because everything for a special time with your lads is here. The girls are beautiful, and everything is unbelievably cheap.

Relaxing bath experience

The good thing is that we never have to wait for the summer if we want to have a great time next to the water. Our world-famous thermal spas are ready for us all year long. We love spending our day next to the hot water pools, eating well, and relaxing in a sauna. We usually do it before an evening of partying, after a hard night as recovery, or just for fun. If you come here, you must try the unique atmosphere of the mineral spring places. After that you’ll feel like a truly relaxed local Hungarian.

Beautiful river in the middle of the city

When I was a child I used to sit on the riverbank just looking at the boats on the Danube. One of our favorite activities now we are adults is to get on a beautiful boat, and have a one or two-hour boat trip. We chat and laugh while the ship slowly sweeps down the river next to our famous buildings. If you book a boat trip with your friends during the weekend, you can get a slice of a real local feeling.

Try some toys for adults easily

Have you ever tried shooting with a real gun? It’s not very easy to go gun shooting in other countries of Europe because of certain government rules. Me, and my friends like shooting ranges because most of them are in nature and you don’t feel like it’s an artificial place only for that activity. You and your lads also can try clay pigeon shooting (usually called skeet shooting). It’s like a real hunting experience in the summer and in winter too.

Rolling bar in midtown

As I told you before, we like the flashy life. The nighttime is so special here, because you feel like you’re in a never-ending rolling story. Before we start a pub crawl or just a simple nightclub visit, we usually book a rolling bar called a beer bike. You must have seen it before - it’s a big vehicle with pedals on it. You sit in front of your friend listening to your favorite music and drinking your beer. I think it’s one of the best starts to a night you can have when you come here.

I could speak about the hundreds of activities you can do in Budapest, but I don’t think there’s any need to say more. I hope you’ll come and visit our country and I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time with your friends here.

How to Choose Accommodations in Budapest

Budapest is a beautiful city with thousands of years of history underneath its belt. It's one of the most romantic cities in all of Eastern Europe. If you're traveling to Hungary for the first time, you might want to research your accommodations options thoroughly.

Many Americans in particular are very surprised to see that the accommodations in Europe are very different from what they're used to in North America.

Before you even begin your research, you'll want to determine what type of property you need. Are you traveling with kids? Do you need air conditioning? Are you expecting a full restaurant and bar to be located on the premises?

Determining your needs before you book a property will ensure you don't get any surprises later in your trip.

1. Apartment, Hotel or Hostel

Source: tourinform.hu

There are generally three types of accommodations in Budapest: Apartments, hotels and hostels. Hotels are traditionally the most popular type of accommodation and rent rooms to travelers starting at less than $30 a night. You often get a maid service, breakfast options and a concierge to help book your activities.

More recently, apartment rentals have become more popular in Budapest. If you're willing to live like a local and forgo maid service, you can save a little bit of money too. Websites like Airbnb and HomeAway have gained popularity for offering more personal experiences in the city.

If you are travelling on a budget, you might want to consider a hostel. Hostels offer extremely cheap accommodations. You generally choose between a shared dorm room or a private suite. Most hostels organize free tours, bar nights and other activities. This is a great option for solo travelers since it's easy to meet people at hostels.

2. Number of Floors

Check how many floors your hotel, hostel or apartment has. Many older buildings in Budapest don't have elevators, so you'll need to hoof your suitcase up to your room if it happens to be on an upper level. Most places post photos of the outside of the building on their websites, so you should be able to tell how many floors you'll be dealing with.

You can always call the property to find out if you can choose your floor or if the building has an elevator. Many properties offer discounts for customers staying on higher floors when the building doesn't have an elevator.

3. Kid Friendly

Source: tripadvisor.co.hu

Try to determine if your desired property is kid friendly. If you're traveling with little ones, you'll need to find out if the building has an elevator, if there are railings or child bars on windows on upper floors and if there's room for a crib or trundle bed. You might also want to inquire about the age of the building if you're bringing your kids. Some buildings might have issues with mold or lead paint that you'll want to know about in advance.

If you're not travelling with kids, you'll probably want to find out if your desired property caters to children. If you're renting an apartment, will families with kids be staying in the same building? Are there sharp objects lying around or other hazards? Inquire about these issues in advance to avoid surprises later.

4. Air Conditioning

Some hotels, hostels and apartments in Budapest don't have air conditioning; make sure you find out about your desired property before you book. If you're booking during the winter, you obviously don't need to worry about this. Hotels in Europe differ from hotels in America; many do not offer some of the amenities Americans are used to, so be sure to do a thorough investigation into the properties inclusions.

All apartments, hotels and hostels will have heating in the winter, so you won't need to worry about that. If you're renting an apartment, make sure you're comfortable with the type of heating. Some apartments may only have wood stoves or fireplaces and not radiator or baseboard heating.

5. Noise

Several factors can increase the noise issues in a property. Is your room facing the street? Is there a bar or sports arena nearby? Will a festival be in town? You'll need to do your research to ensure your property won't be affected by noisy events.

Do a thorough search for your property online. TripAdvisor reviews will let you know if a property has thin walls or other noise issues. You might be able to find out what parts of the hotel are the noisiest and if customers had problems with the entire hotel or if changing their rooms eased the noise problems.

Don't ever feel embarrassed to call the hotel and ask the front desk if some rooms are quieter than others. You might even ask if there's a conference being held in the hotel during your stay and ask to be placed as far away from those guests as possible.

6. Service

Source: room5.trivago.es

Many hotels, apartments and hostels offer a varying degree of services. Full-service hotels usually offer maid service, a concierge, late or early check-in and on-site restaurants and bars. Some hostels also offer these services.

If you're staying at an apartment, find out if you're responsible for cleaning the space before you leave. Sometimes hosts offer this option to guests who want to save a little money at the end of their vacation. Some hosts don't offer this option; instead, they simply pay a maid a small fee to clean the apartment. This fee is generally charged to you at the time of booking.

7. Breakfast Options

Source: programturizmus.hu

European hotels often offer a free continental breakfast. This breakfast is not usually what Americans eat for breakfast and usually consists of cold cuts, cheese slices, bread and spreads. Double check to see if your hotel offers a free breakfast. You might also want to check to see if your hotel or hostel offers a paid breakfast. Some hotels don't offer this service, so you'll need to check to see if there are adjacent coffee shops or cafes.

Ask your Airbnb host if he or she offers breakfast. Some hosts live on the premises and offer a light morning meal as a way to attract more clients.

8. Bed Type

Many Budapest hotels don't offer queen-sized or king-sized beds. Instead, many properties simply push two twin-sized beds together to make a queen-sized bed. If sleeping on the crack between two beds sounds uncomfortable to you, try calling the property before you book to make sure you get a true queen bed. If you need a crib or a trundle bed, make sure you call ahead to find out if the hotel offers these amenities before you book. These bedding options are usually offered in American hotels but are not always common in Budapest.

9. Age of Building

Source: familyvacationcritic.com

The age of a building in Budapest can tremendously affect the quality of your stay. Budapest is an old city, so most hotels, hostels and apartments are older. Try to find a hotel that is either new or that has been updated within the past 10 years. If the hotel hasn't been renovated recently, check a site like TripAdvisor to determine whether or not the hotel experiences issues related to its age.

Sometimes older buildings have issues with vermin that include termites, roaches, rats, mice and bed bugs. Buildings that have been updated might not have these issues because they were dealt with during the renovations.

Call the hotel, hostel or apartment service to inquire whether the building has experienced any of these issues. Check out user photos on TripAdvisor or Booking.com to find out if other travelers have experienced issues due to the building's age.

10. Room Size

City hotels are often much smaller than ones in the suburbs or the country. Manage your expectations by looking at hotel, hostel and apartment photos before booking to ensure your room is the size you expect.

Your Budapest vacation should be a magical time. Manage your expectations by ensuring you know as much about your desired property before the time of booking.

Ten must try foods in Budapest

Are you looking forward to traveling to Budapest and have no idea what restaurants to visit or the food to eat? If that’s a yes, then in this article we've listed some of the excellent cuisines and places you need to visit in the city. The meals here are spicy, delicious and of varied flavors. I can assure you that most Budapest travelers have appreciated the tantalizing meals served in the hotels and restaurants.

Therefore, we’ll jump right away into showing you the traditional and modern dishes of the Hungarian culture.

1. Chicken Paprikash

Source: gasztrotrend.hu

It is a very famous dish in Hungary and my personal favorite too. The name comes from the considerable amount of Paprika source forming its recipe. It is a tender chicken meal that is made by ochre and onion flavored mix leaving the chicken bone poking out of the meat. Each serving comes with sour cream and spatzle, a dumpling that resembles pasta.

I encourage you to try it, and you will be addicted to this dish for its tantalizing taste.

Where to have the best Chicken Paprikash in Budapest

I have my Chicken Paprikash at Pest-Buda because of the ‘grandma cooking style.' The dish is one hundred percent hearty and traditional. The chefs at Pest-Buda are devoted to preparing the recipe with love honoring the quality tradition of the restaurant for the past decades.

If you visit Budapest eventually and find yourself in the Danube on the Buda side, find this restaurant and try out the Chicken Paprikash for an unforgettable eating experience.

2. Goulash

Source: foodandwine.hu

Another famous dish from the Budapest gastronomic repertoire is the Goulash. Based on the ancient history, Goulash or gulyas (adapted from the name of traditional herdsmen) was prepared by the herdsmen on a kettle over an open fire. That cooking style has stayed to date, and I can’t help but think it’s the reason the food is so original and rich in taste.

The dish falls between a soup and stew, though sometimes beef, pork or veal is added to the broth. Other key ingredients are carrots, potato, spices and the famous paprika. Make sure to taste this food while in Budapest to have the authentic taste of the Hungarian uniqueness.

Where to have the best Goulash in Budapest

To get the real Goulash recipe, visit Budapest Bisztro which is famous hotel countrywide for the traditional Goulash soup. This restaurant stands a few meters from the newly refurbished Kossuth Square and Parliament. The design of the venue is modern with current service; however, it serves the best traditional dishes under the right setting.

3. Kürtöskalács

Source: berkenyevendeghaz.hu

These are the best cuisines if you are looking for something light to bite on the go. They are the favorite pastry sold at festivals and outdoor shops. I have developed a sweet tooth for the Kürtoskalács, and after you try them out, I can guarantee that you and I will be in the same boat.

During preparation, sweet yeast dough is cut into long strips then rolled around a cylinder to give them their shape. They are then rolled in sugar and baked over hot coal as butter is smeared on them to give a golden brown look. The sugar slowly caramelizes on the snack to form a shiny, crispy crust.

With a single bite of this pastry, you will get hooked forever. You can try it with different toppings like cinnamon, cocoa, coconut, and almonds depending on your preference.

Where to have the best Kürtoskalács in Budapest

Café Ruszwurm is a perfect place to grab this tempting pastry and several others of its kind. The café has been around for decades improving their recipes with every bite of a snack. It is located a few meters from Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion; you can’t miss it.

4. Fisherman’s soup

Source: vorospk.com

It is a part of the integral traditional dishes in Budapest. Just like the goulash, its preparation is in a kettle over an open fire. It is treated with much esteem to satisfy the clients. The ingredients include mixed river fish which can be either carp or catfish, perch, or pike. Red hot paprika gives it the bright red look.

There are various ways of making it one of which involves thick pasta and carp known as a la Baja. The Szeged involving four types of fish is the most popular. It is another of my alternatives when looking for a rich, hearty meal. If you are a soup and broth kind of person, then I encourage you not to pass on this meal.

Where to have the best Fisherman’s soup in Budapest

It can be a hard task to choose between the restaurants offering this dish. However, you can pass by Duna Garden and avoid trouble and confusion. Besides having the best Fisherman’s soup, they also have excellent customer service for both the tourists and the locals.

5. Fried Cheese Burger

Source:menandtal.hu

Just to point out, it isn’t a burger with sprinkles of cheese but rather a burger prepared by grilled cheese. In its preparation, two chunks of bread sandwich the fried cheese. What follows is smothering with onion flavor. This meal is nothing but to die for each time you have a bite.

Where to have the best Fried Cheese Burger in Budapest

Visit the Karavan for this fantastic dish. Feel the taste of grilled cheese ooze onto your tongue as you sink your teeth on the burger. It is as far as street food goes.

6. Dobos torte

Source: femina.hu

If you are a pastry lover, then you have to try out the Dobos torte in Budapest. This is a multi-layered divine snack with chocolate buttercream sprinkled between thin layers of a tantalizing sponge cake. It also comes with a solid caramel crust with the side sprayed with chopped nuts or chocolate slather.

Where to have the best Dobos Torte in Budapest

Once again I recommend the Ruszwurm Café for a delicious slice of the Budapest Dobos torte.

7. Lángos

Source: octo.blog.hu

I am a fried dough fan and all the similarly prepared dishes. The Lángos is one of such in the shape of a personal-sized Pizza. They are popular in festivals. You can have this street on-the-go snack with a variety of toppings such as garlic sauce, cheese, sour cream, ham, and even sausages.

Where to try the best Langos in Budapest

The vendors of this must-have pastry can be difficult to locate on the streets. This is because the pedestrian streets get real busy making them hard to spot. Hence I’ll recommend the Langos Florian Square near the underpass. Also, you can check just beside the bank of Lake Balafon.

8. Főzelék

Source: fozelekmania.hu

It is a unique dish in Budapest which is a soup-like thick vegetable stew. It is also a healthy culinary choice that is both easy to make and practical. Once you visit Budapest and are looking for a quick, healthy Hungarian meal experience, you can duck into one Főzelék bar.

It comes in several variations such as potato, peas, beans, lentils, and carrot which are simmered and made into broth by flour and sour cream.

Where to try the best Főzelék in Budapest

Főzelékfaló Ételbár is the one stop site for grabbing the right Hungarian Fozelek. It is quite reasonably priced and has four outlets within Budapest.

9. Somlói Galuska

Source: femcafe.hu

This is undoubtedly the favorite cake in the whole of Budapest. It is a delicious cake for dessert involving a sponge cake tiered with chocolate, walnuts, some rum, and small amounts of whipped cream on the crust. It has a history and has been an award winner at the Brussels World’s fair.

Having mentioned that, it would be a shame leaving Budapest without you eating Somlói Galuska. The creator keeps the secret original recipe; however, there have been variations keeping the essential ingredients.

Where to try the best Somlói Galuska in Budapest

Michelin-stare Onyx Restaurant serves the original recipe of the dish. However, you can get a classic variation of this amazing cake at Gundel Restaurant, which is an award winning hotel and a leader in the food industry in Budapest.

10. Töltött Káposzta

Source: cookpad.com

Also known as stuffed cabbage leaves, this dish is very popular in Budapest. The recipe involves a mixture of cooked cabbage with pork mince, rice, paprika, pepper and sour cream. You should visit the Budapest taverns and feel the real taste of Hungarian cuisine.

Where to try the best Töltött Káposzta in Budapest

You can eat it at Csarnok Vendéglő at the best price and quality.

These are some of the Budapest dishes you shouldn’t miss when you visit the country. Once you do, you will be hooked to the Budapest restaurants just like I am!

10 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Budapest

Budapest, the capital of Hungary has sat on the shores of the Danube River for over 150 years. Even before that, there were settlements dating all the way back to the Stone Age at this location. One of benefits of having such a long history of human habitation is the evidence left behind by the ages. Architecture dating to Ancient Rome sits alongside more modern offerings, making a varied tapestry that takes you through the different time periods and cultures that have ruled the area.

Twenty-three districts make up the city and all can be accessed using the city’s meticulous transit system. This system makes it easy to plot out the sites you want to check out and gives you plenty of time and options to fit it all in. Visitors can expect cold winters and warm summers with sudden rainfall that helps set the stage for this beautiful, historic location. In addition to all of the cultural offerings that Budapest has to offer, you can also take advantage of one of the 125 hot springs the dot the area.

With galleries, sports, art, cuisine and parks, Budapest is a feast for the senses and is one of the most sought after destinations for travelers from all over the world. Here are 10 of highest rated attractions within the city for you to experience.

Gellért Hill

Source: expedia.com.au

From atop this hill you can see a perfect view of the river and how the city is cut into Buda and Pest districts. Visit the Gellert Thermal Baths to experience the medicinal minerals of these springs that can reach up to 58 degrees Celsius (136F). The hill is also home to the Gellert Cave, which has a storied history as a secret religious meeting place during Communist occupation. Today, the cave is used as a monastery and has a lovely terrace complete with a statue of Saint Stephen. At the top of the hill sits the Citadel, a fortress built in 1851. There, you can view weaponry from World War II.

Parliament Building

Source: panoramio.com

This Neo-Gothic building is over 100 years old, which means it has seen two world wars. The building has undergone many restorations, but has maintained the classic features. It is the third largest parliament building in the world with 691 rooms. Currently, you can view the Hungarian Crown Jewels in the parliament building. This crown was used by the kings of the empire from the 12th century until 1916. The jewels have been stole many times over the last century and were even given into American protection to keep them safe from Soviet Russia. They were returned in 1978.

The Islands

Source: olcso-szallas.eu

There are seven islands in the Danube that fall under Hungary’s territory. Margaret Island is widely used for fitness activities and is very popular at night for its various night clubs. There are bike trails around the island and plenty of relaxing park spaces to just relax and take in the day. The island is also home to a water park, an open air theater, and medieval ruins.

Hajogyari is a man made island that is quickly becoming a posh destination. It hosts the Sziget Music Festival each year and is being developed with a casino, hotels and a thriving night life.

Vajdahunyad Castle

Source: bonappetour.com

Built in 1896, this castle is now home to festivals and concerts that whole trips can be built around. Treat yourself to the winter wonderland Wine & Cheese Festival in November or take in the Music Festival over the summer. If you just want to see the palace during a day visit, you’ll be treated to Gothic, Baroque and Roman architecture. On the castle grounds you’ll find the Museum of Agriculture. Explore the wine making history of the area.

Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Source: faninfo.hu

Located in Varosliget Park in the City Center, the zoo is a natural reserve and has several art nouveau buildings. The zoo is active in helping breed endangered animals. It features several climate zones to simulate tropical regions and desert climates.

The botanical garden is managed by Eotvos Lorand University and features over 200 endangered plants. The gardens host a cherry blossom festival in the Spring.

Chocolate Museum

Source: csokolade-muzeum.hu

Originally a hunting castle for Count Wagner, this property has gone through many changes over the years, serving as everything from a police station to a cinema. In 2008, it began life as the Chocolate Museum. You can see tools that have been used to fashion chocolate treats over the last two centuries.

There are several tours that can be taken and sweets to be tasted. You can even make some chocolate treats yourself. Pour your own chocolate, add flavors and decorate your custom chocolate bar.

Heroes Square

Source: panoramio.com

This historic site is flanked by the Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art. At the center of the square is the Millennium Memorial, which honors those who have fought and died for Hungarian freedom. Colonnades, statues of past kings and angels as well as reliefs can be viewed up close. Like most of the country, parts of the square were damaged by war, but refurbishment efforts have restored the square to its original intent of highlighting the glory of the empire.

The Museum of Fine Arts is currently closed for renovations. The Palace of Arts houses a concert hall, a theater and the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art.

Hospital in the Rock Nuclear Bunker Museum

Source: tripadvisor.co.hu

In the caves below the Buda Castle, the government of Budapest built a hospital in preparation for the Second World War. The cave system had been used for various purposes in earlier years, then was reinforced and turned into a bomb shelter, where wounded soldiers could be treated safely.

Restoration began in 2007 and now this museum is one of the most popular destinations in Hungary as it authentically depicts the role of this cave system during war, communist occupation and revolution.

Saint Stephen’s Basilica

Source: budapest.varosom.hu

Named after the first king of Hungary, this church is the largest church in Budapest and the third largest in the country. It can hold 8,500 people. The two bell towers house six large bells, the largest of which is the Great St. Stephen bell, which is the largest in Hungary. Housed in the church is the mummified hand of St. Stephen. It is on display in the chapel.

The basilica is a center for music; the choir performs across Europe. Public concerts are held at the church, where you can see world famous organists and singers.

Hungarian National Museum

Source: easybudapest.com

One of the museum’s seven permanent displays includes a history of the country starting with archeological finds dating to 804AD. Visitors can see the social structures and leaders that rose and fell through the ages all the way up to the 20th century.

Art and science hold equal importance in Hungary. There is a permanent exhibit showcasing the scientific achievements of Hungarian scholars. The museum hosts a festival every May that celebrates museums.

Budapest is a cultural must see destination for any traveler. Nature, science, art, and history come together harmoniously in this city that has seen a lot of strife, but has always risen out of the ashes.

3 must try foods in Budapest

These foods range from the sweet to savory and will definitely give you some culinary inspiration for foods to try in Budapest.

Video by: The Endless Adventure