Paris, Chicago and Beyond: How to Have a Luxury Trip for Much Less Than You Think

A high-end vacation doesn’t have to mean spending big dollars. Here are 10 cities where you can have upscale experiences without paying premium prices.

Comments: 143

  1. “Regardless of the time of year, Chicagoans love to walk...” Not true, certainly not in January when the average temperature is 17 degrees, and that doesn’t factor in the wind chill.

  2. @Lynn Venderley Yeah, but in January you get the tourist spots like the museums and restaurants all to yourself! Nothing like visiting the Art Institute on a dreary winter day. It feels like your own private tour.

  3. @Lynn Venderley I've been in Chicago in the summer when I was lucky not to pass out.

  4. We took a staycation in downtown Chicago in the first week of January and had a blast. All restaurants were easy to get into, we went ice skating at Maggie Daley park. Also went to Lincoln Park Zoo where workers were thrilled to see people and gave us lectures and demos about and with animals. Art Institute of Chicago and Museum of Science never get old. Just bundle up.

  5. Readers, add Lisbon to this list.

  6. Sorry, but Lisbon gotten a bit expensive lately.

  7. Re Paris--for getting around the buses are great, run frequently and you get to see Paris

  8. @LuLu LoLo Not only that, but the trains in France are frequent, comfortable, on time and relatively cheap.

  9. @LuLu LoLo And in Paris, the Batobus is wonderful. Completely different views from the Seine!

  10. Due to a faulty roll-out of new bikes after the city's contract was handed to a different company, Velib in Paris is an utter mess right now. One month ago I scoured the streets trying to find bikes and stations, but to no avail. It was much easier to buy a short-term subscription to Ofo, a dockless bike-sharing system.

  11. @Jonathan C The Velib program, currently called Smovengo, has been a disaster for almost a year now, but you would never know it from reading the NYT travel section.

  12. Mexico city is not hot in the summer. The high altitude combined with the rainy season makes the weather cool and fresh.

  13. There is so much to see, do, experience and inhale when visiting Chicago. The Chicago Architecture River Cruise is a relaxing and fun way to spend a summer afternoon and dining at either Band of Bohemia or Smoque BBQ will never be disappointing – the food will make you swoon. But to be honest, Chicagoans simply LOVE tourists, whether you spend any money or not. We love this city, love to show it off, and love to brag about it. Hope to see you soon and often!

  14. If you are an ordinary retiree without a regular paycheck, these places are expensive. So don't go there. If you are working with a regular paycheck, these places are still expensive. Go there in business purpose and take several side trips before or after the business to satisfy your curiosity and thirst for exploration.

  15. @Usok: I've been going to Paris on vacation for years. In 2017 I rented a nice apartment and stayed there for a month. It cost me about $5000 ($150 per day) including airfare from the West Coast. That is a lot cheaper that an overnight stay in Sacramento or Reno.

  16. @Usok hi Usok, The purpose of this article is about saving on a luxury vacation. it does not apply towards budget travelers. Yes, I agree that even with a 50% discount, these hotels are out of reach for the ordinary traveler. NYT has a great frugal traveler column that is helpful for those of us who are on a budget. I am a retiree on a fixed income and travel overseas at least 4 months a year and choose to spend less so I can travel more, rather than spending my annual travel budget on one luxury trip like many people do. I save money by using AirBnB and for accommodations, not eating at fine dining establishments and trying to get accommodations with some kitchen facilities so I can alternate by cooking to save money, especially on breakfast and lunch. Buying wine at a local grocery store allows me to save money by having a couple of glasses in our hotel room so you only order 1 glass at dinner. There are many ways to save and still enjoy yourself. The accommodations I generally choose are only 3 star at the highest. if there is a will there is a way. Rick Steves' guides are my travel bible!

  17. Or just don't drink.

  18. I am surprised and disappointed that nowhere in Canada was on the list. It is surprisingly cheap (especially for luxurious accommodation and amenities that are 30% cheaper because of the exchange rate) It is also much closer and easier to get to for American travelers. There are more wide open spaces, clean air and water ( just tap water and not bottled contributing to pollution) and they speak the language. (albeit with funny idioms and accents) Add it to the list.

  19. Smart Americans will soon be living in Canada. Not vacationing

  20. @FunkyIrishman To be sure - both Toronto and Quebec are beautiful cities.

  21. @Chris Baker or south of the border!

  22. Defining a luxury Paris visit as one where someone ends up cooking isn't my definition of luxury. It may be fun and doable, but it's not luxury.

  23. @Kate Baptista .....And yet, after a day spent out and about, including a nice lunch, heading back to our accommodations with a rotisserie chicken, or a baguette with pate or cheese, and a selection of fruit, for restful evening, is heavenly. With delicious store-bought pastry, a few eggs, good quality shredded cheese and a bit of milk or cream, a freshly made quiche is easier than pie. We do this partly because after a full day we are tired, and not able to enjoy an evening out, and partly because we simply can't eat two restaurant meals a day. In any event, having a kitchen is a necessity for us.

  24. But the airfare is expensive. I guess we can flap our own wings.

  25. @Metrojournalist The airfare is especially expensive if you live in the center of the country because you'll spend another 600 dollars round trip to get to New York and back.

  26. Depending on where you’re departing from, consider Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Miami/Ft Lauderdale, Chicago, Toronto or DC as your connecting cities. In fact, I think one of the best things you can do for yourself, your sanity, and your wallet is avoid NYC airports as much as possibl.

  27. So basically, this column says that the best way to save money is to travel during the low season when the weather is horrible. Duh!

  28. As a New Yorker, I don't get how you can tell would-be tourists that $25 for the Met is cheap. It is not. Neither is our subway cheap. It's $2.75. For a family of four, that's $11 one way. I welcome tourists to my great city but I'm not going to tell them it's cheap. You can eat very well for not too much, though - Chinese food in Chinatown, Papaya King for an authentic NYC hot dog, and those little restos in Hell's Kitchen also give you a bang for the buck.

  29. This is such a strange article as cutting costs in any city is about the same: go off-season; use public transportation; check out free attractions, concerts, and museums; eat a big lunch or street fare. Little in this article is unique to the cities listed, nor did it need to be as long as it was.

  30. I'm sure there isn't room for every great location but Madrid is great too. Nice hotels close to the Gran Via, subways, buses, great taxi service if you want it. World class museums and world class food but eat merienda late afternoon and you'll save on pricey dinners.

  31. Some of Lillian Aviles' remarks about Mexico City--where I have lived for years--surprised me, especially her remarks about our summer weather. The current temperature (9:00AM CDT) is 55ºF, with an expected high of 78ºF. Our summer days are warm and usually sunny, our summer nights are cool and refreshing, with an hour-long rain sometime during the evening. Our altitude (highest point is just under 8000 feet above sea level) helps our natural air conditioning. Fashion note: and women will want to bring a light sweater or shawl to layer for a light supper on a terraza and a stroll in the evening. Stick a collapsible umbrella in your purse or backpack, too. And wait, taco bar with wine for $5-$10 a person? WHERE? My experience of tacos here ranges from the Centro Histórico's Los Coyucos stand-up tacos ($5-$8 two or three with a soft drink per person) to Coyoacán's El Chupacabras (two or three and a soft drink for $5-$8 per person) to Restaurante Pujol (taco omakase bar plus drinks for well over $100--yes, USD) per person). The San Ángel Saturday (outdoor and indoor) arts and crafts market is called Bazar Sábado, a necessary name to give your Uber driver or who knows where you'll end up. And just to nit-pick, the other (indoor) artisans' market is La Ciudadela, one L.

  32. Stop spending big money on food. It's only food. You eat it, you pay your tab and you have nothing to show for it.

  33. @MIKEinNYC Traveling with you must be a real joy. You could say the same thing about any of the pleasures available when traveling - opera, museums, theater. You go, pay your tab and have "nothing" to show for it. How about an exciting experience, great memories? Fortunately most people find delight in good food.

  34. @Marlon I love to eat and cook, but, honestly, the NYT Travel section is fixated on food. Some articles barely suggest any alternatives to eating -- including the cultural activities you mention, but also what about walking, hiking or biking, people-watching, catching the sunset in a beautiful spot, etc., etc.

  35. New York is a bargain for food and culture for several weeks a year. lol How about Philadelphia?

  36. Shhhhhh.

  37. Best for least : Berlin , Germany

  38. The gist of this article is to go when the weather is the worst and nobody wants to be there and forget about a nice dinner, it's too expensive, so eat a big lunch. Oh, and walk, don't take a taxi. I'm pretty sure this doesn't constitute a luxury vacation on any budget.

  39. some good info here but at 399 a night in chicago hardly a good deal even with a third night free.. as for mexico it’s not hot in summer.. it’s rainy season and is cool especially at night.. and compared to most other cities it’s vibrant and very affordable..

  40. I wish the Times would make a practice of discussing safety issues in their travel articles. Usually travel articles are all positive, but some cities are more dangerous or have areas that should be avoided, at least at night. It would be very helpful to have that information.

  41. A laughable list without Lisbon. The Portuguese capital blows these cities out of the water for charm and value. Tbilisi and Fez are also worthy omissions.

  42. We try to travel off season or the shoulder seasons:Rome in January, Kyoto in February, Patagonia in March bc not only are prices more reasonable, but there are fewer tourists.

  43. @Ellen So do I Ellen.

  44. We were just able to fly premium round trip on Norwegian between NYC and Paris for $1,000 per person. The experience was fantastic.

  45. I wish the article put the savings in more concrete terms than simply saying, it’s cheaper in October. So for a trip to... New York sure, you can save a percentage using these tips, but what percentage? And finally, the cities were apples and oranges, compare similar cities that are in some proximity to control for airfare. By that measure, Toronto is a massive savings over New York.... theatre, great food, ethnic neighbourhoods and legal pot. Beat that!

  46. I'm not sure luxury and quality aren't being confused here. I have visited Paris numerous times and while I don't require a "luxury" hotel, the place where I lay my head at night is the most important thing to me. I frequent a wonderful hotel that is close to several major boulevards but hidden down a short side street. Views are not great, but they aren't as important as quality. About $250 w/breakfast or so a night and the staff are wonderful. Look for the hidden gems! Take a cooking class! I often travel alone and this was one of the best outings on my last trip to Paris. I met new people, had an excellent meal, and learned some great recipes and techniques. It made for a wonderful and reasonably priced afternoon. Having lunch at popular and pricey restaurants is a great suggestion. A museum pass is another because it is impossible to see all there is to see in all the museums in Paris within the short span of a vacation. Yes there are free museum days, but again, it is better to be free to go at one's own convenience. Planning ahead is key to any great vacation! Bon voyage! Street art tours are another great way to see the city. There are numerous and, again

  47. some of the author's suggestions: use the subway eat pizza, tacos walk I do those things when I travel. It's fun, but it isn't luxury.

  48. Portugal, whether the mainland (Porto in particular) or the Azorean islands, is very affordable. There are many sights to see; people are kind and welcoming; the food and wines are delicious; the weather is temperate. An American can really enjoy luxury there.

  49. The train from Stansted airport into London offers 2 for 1 admission coupons to many of the best London ( and beyond) attractions, as well as restaurant 2 for 1 coupons. Info can be found on the Stansted Express website. We use them all the time.

  50. 399 is cheap for a hotel? That's the most I ever pay (in a big city). I'd never pay 800 for a night. Even if my income were seven figures, unless I were really trying ti impress my travel companion. My shoes cost 600 dollars My car cost over 70 grand. I like to spend money, but hotels, to me, are a complete waste of money. I never sleep that well away from home. When I travel, I see all the ways hotels try to get you to spend more (room service, mini bar, bathrobes). I guess people become less disciplined about spending, while on vacation. I tend to become MORE disciplined. I'm a big spender at home and a stingy guy on the road. If I save 200 a night on hotels over a long weekend, I save enough for a pair of Ferragamo drivers. When I ski alone in Vermont, I pull my new Porsche into motels where rooms are 95 dollars a night. It must look like I stole the car.

  51. As a Chicagoan, I would include NY on this list. I've visited often enough to know there are big hotel bargains to be had if one knows when to go - July 4, Thanksgiving, mid-March, or if you must Jan & Feb. I never pay more than $120/nt in a Midtown or FiDi chain hotel and while it's not always very luxurious, just dining, shopping, and being in NYC for a few days feels like a luxury.

  52. Dave T: New York is on the list!

  53. A more apt title for this article would be "How to pay slightly less for your luxury vacation by going off-season and using public transportation." Somehow the luxury got drained out there. I was expecting a selection of more obscure destinations where total luxury (going during high season, hiring a car, staying in a fancy hotel, etc) were actually affordable.

  54. Go to Barcelona by transatlantic cruise which are almost the same price as a business class airfare. Take a bus to the city center and reserve via a hotel program like or TripAdvisor. Walk and enjoy a bigger lunch and a smaller dinner. Take a flight to Paris, use the Metro and buses or walk, find a small boutique hotel with breakfast in the Marais on a hotel website, and enjoy local places for dinner or grab sandwiches for lunch. Take the Chunnel train off peak, take the tube, do theater and museums, eat in pub street or sandwiches, go home by budget airline Iceland, Norwegian or Wow. Not all luxury, but budget minded.

  55. @Dr. P. H. Thank you for your idea of traveling by ship to Europe. For people who have painful arthritis or other medical problems, the idea of sitting still in a crowded plane for hours is...well, it's painful to think about.

  56. There are other accommodations besides hotels when staying in pricey cities. For the price of one day at any of the hotels mentioned you could stay in a private hostel room a week. Then you could really splurge on dining and taxis. That's what I did when I stayed in Mexico City. A luxurious $200 meal at Sylvestre and Pujol isn't wallet busting when hostels are less than $50 a night.

  57. Perhaps the term "luxury travel" is inappropriate to describe a getaway when the traveler is eating dinner at a snack bar and taking the subway around, especially in New York?

  58. In what universe is a luxury trip to New York affordable? For starters, no matter the season, the average low-end hotel price hovers in the $250 range -- and we're talking Days Inn. That's before one figures in the exhorbitant tax, which adds another $50 onto the bill. $25 to get into the Met? What if you're a family of four and you want your kids to experience one of the world's great museums? It will set you back $100. Broadway show tickets? There goes another $200 a ticket for halfway decent seats. Don't get me wrong: I'm a native New Yorker who loves visiting my home town. But I've learned that a weekend in NYC always sets me back at least $1000 -- and I'm not talking luxury accommodations. Oh yes, don't forget the final insult: the parking bill. There goes another $120.

  59. @Island Waters-why would an out of towner (who lived here at some point) ever bring a car? We New Yorkers take subways/buses and mostly our own feet...garages are tourist rips offs. I'm sure there's some sort of transportation from wherever you live to NYC.

  60. @Patou I park my Porsche on the street. I've been doing it for three years. It's a manual. So, nobody else can drive it. Most neighborhoods have free on street parking from 6PM Friday night until 6AM Monday morning. The only reason to use a garage is so nobody bumps your car when parking in front of you (or behind you). I don't think anybody steals cars anymore.

  61. @Patou The city is chock full of drivers. Every boro.

  62. With a little imagination and a map of currency values around the world, you can come up with a much more interesting list and better results. Eastern Europe, for example, has some very affordable gems with history, culture, great food, apartments available for the cost of hotel rooms elsewhere: try Poland or the Czech Republic.

  63. We've been renting an apt. in Paris for over 15 years and it's the best way to be local and really know the city-though I speak French and have many friends there. The metro is amazing, as are the buses, and walking is always the way to go if you've time. We rent in early November when the tourists are mostly gone (though May is lovely, as well) and the prices aren't as jacked up.

  64. A note for travelers to NYC. The renovation currently underway at LaGuardia made getting out of and into the place a nightmare last month. It took my driver almost an hour to get me to the Delta entrance. I'd suggest for the time being using another airport, or at least check online to see what the status of the renovation is before flying. (It certainly looks like a years-long project).

  65. When I read about the prices in New York and even Chicago, I thought New Orleans is a real bargain. What I spend in restaurants there isn't anymore than I spend in restaurants at home. When I splurged and ate the brunch at Arnaud's, I spent 100 dollars for two, including a twenty dollar tip. Try New Orleans for a luxury vacation on the cheap.

  66. One of the ways to avoid Farenheit 122 (aka Global Warming) is for the upper middle class and the rich is to cut down on unnecessary travels.

  67. @Vasantha Ramnarayan “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” Mark Twain

  68. La Compagnie is definitely a great way to go to Paris. It definitely meets the title of the article for offering a luxury trip for much less than you may think. The seats may not be completely lie flat, but 175-degree is more than fine. With only 19 rows the boarding process is fast.

  69. True Chicago pizza has a thin crust. Deep-dish pizza is a fraud perpetuated against unsuspecting tourists.

  70. @Blue Jay There was once 2 great pizzerias in Chicago on 2 corners by a very large buildings. In the 50s there was not much nearby. Word of these two places. Pizzaria Uno and Pizzeria Due. The best. Should have gone in the 50s. I am told they sold their recipes to a chain but never did I find an equivalent pizza. Until we found those two places I was not Pizza fan and am not again. It was deep dish by the way. Very deep dish.

  71. As a frequent visitor to Honk Kong, I urge you to check the conventions and conferences that might be going on during your planned stay. When a large gathering is in process, hotel availability and rates can easily conspire mightily against you. Of course, other popular international convention cities also experience the same kind of ups and downs in price and availability, but I have noticed it more perhaps in HK>

  72. To save on luxury book your hotel in winter....sheer genius from all those insider travel agents. And Lou Malnatis in Chicago for luxury dining? They can't even make a good pizza.

  73. @Dump Drump I completely concur with the Lou Malnati’s critique. I will never understand the allure of their pizza. Like another commenter stated, "True Chicago pizza has thin crust."

  74. @Marge Keller Marge and Chitown die hards: please enjoy Lou's, Pizzeria Uno, Duo, Tre, Whatever but don't call it pizza

  75. This article is pure clickbait and I don't understand the framework for this article. The title suggest "luxury travel for less" and yet every destination begins with "...An upscale vacation to [insert city here] can be a pricey proposition" without really offering that great of tips. The main tip is hotels are cheaper during the worst weather so go then BUT it might not be worth it because the weather is so bad. Or skip dinner and eat a fancy lunch instead! How about a real curated list from unusual cities that could use more exposure?!

  76. Note re the Met admission policy - the $25 gets access to all three places (Met, Met Breuer and Cloisters) for three days, not just one. We recently did each one on different days to better fit with the rest of our itinerary. Oh, and senior rate is only $17.

  77. @faith, now THAT is useful news/info. Thank you.

  78. @faith The Met *used* to be a bargain when you could give them what you wanted as an entry fee. I used to pay $1.

  79. London- you should probably tell your readers that Bang Bang Oriental is 1/2 mile from the Colindale tube station. The Colindale tube station is in zone 4, not exactly centrally located..

  80. @donn - I don't think the author actually did any research...

  81. @donn True, Zone 4 is not exactly "central London" but if you only do Zone 1 while in London, you'll have missed a whole lot of interesting things to see and do. It will be like going to New York City and just sticking to mid-town Manhattan.

  82. @Expat Yes, but I'm not sure I would recommend Colindale to tourists.

  83. Biggest drawback to any trip-the gruesome Newark, Kennedy and LaGuardia airports. Entering any one of them is like going into a 3rd world country with the employees and contractors behaving as if they despise all travelers. Add in NY/NJ airport TSA and the agony soars. Suggest travelers who desire non American destinations go to Canada and avoid those airports all together. Fly to Albany and then drive if you can. Our country is beautiful and Canada is amazing.

  84. @nurse betty I took Amtrak to Niagara Falls & Toronto. It's a beautiful ride through northern NY state, particularly in Autumn.

  85. Some tips for Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago is free after 5pm on Thursdays to Illinois residents with ID . Even if you go to the Art Institute on regular day after 5pm, you can buy the ticket for $9 per person - that's how much I paid few years ago. I don't know any locals including me who eat deep dish pizza. My friends and I prefer thin-crust. For a different type of pizza (pizza pot-pie), you can try going to Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. in Lincoln Park - the problem is they only take cash and there are no reservations so the lines are long.

  86. I think I’ll just stay home and watch old episodes of Anthony Bordain (RIP). The prices of these suggestions are just plain silly.

  87. "Dahling, I've just had a brainstorm. We could slum it and take public transportation!" This is not helpful or original, people.

  88. @Alex It may not be original, Alex...but it's hardly slumming it and vs a cab or Uber in many of the worlds major cities is both practical AND cheap--the point of this article, especially with day week or tourist type passes, especially if you only need to go several stops. Taking the Metro may be below YOUR paygrade,but for a lot of armchair travelers who haven't seen the world, or don't HAVE public transport at home, a reminder and encouragement to at least consider public transport strikes me s always worth noting--again especially given this article's state purpose.

  89. Hi, Mexico City can be hot in May but the afternoon rains make it cool. Please correct this inaccurate information, unless you believe that 75 during the day and 60 at night is hot.

  90. @ davidrobichaux I thought the same thing when I read this! Mexico City gets hot but not that hot. Best to you! ;)

  91. It was with some interest that I opened this article, only to find Chicago on the list. Immediately this put the whole rest of the suggestions on the suspect list, too. I'm a midwesterner, and for the last decade Chicago, except in very unusual situations, has been way out of our price range. To suggest otherwise is just plain wrong, unless you're willing to a)hitchhike b) walk everywhere c) know someone to crash on their couch e) eat one meal a day f) decide that all the above might get you a ticket to an event you really don't consider to be a luxury worthy of a high end vacation. The first item in every city is WALK. Well some of us can't some of us consider walking not part of a luxury vacation, and the distance one can walk comfortably day after day for a brief stay dictates you stay at a hotel well within the expensive district. Or you take a cab. I learned that there are maybe thirty days a year in which New York City hotels are 'affordable'. Oh, and walk while there. I'm still completely in the dark about how to even afford one of these places, say nothing about doing it with luxury.

  92. For the most part, Chicago has a transportation system that can take you to within a few blocks of where you want to go — especially in the areas where tourists frequent. While still need to walk (probably 4 blocks, tops) to and from a bus stop or a train stop, by utilizing the CTA, you can cut down on the amount of walking without taking a cab or a Lyft/Uber. NYC and most larger (especially the non-US) cities are the same.

  93. @reid I am afraid most big cities are expensive, both for the tourists and residents. And walking or using public transport is the best way to see a place properly. Driving or hiring taxi/urber in big cities is not usually a good idea as you will just be wasting your time sitting in a traffic jam.

  94. I spent two weeks in Oaxaca Mexico and recommend it in all categories. High quality and inexpensive. Unusual museums, fascinating markets, and scrumptious local and fusion dining.

  95. No longer a need to economize. I am going to be a recipient of the latest Trump administration largesse: Reducing my long term capital gains tax liability by allowing adjustment of my cost basis for inflation. Yippee! Let them eat cake.

  96. I'd like to see a similar article that suggests some smaller cities and other places that aren't as obvious -- for example, a spot in France with a few lovely, intimate hotels/inns and a couple of great restaurants in the area. (But Mexico City is a great suggestion!)

  97. Also, it would be helpful for those of us not recipients of Trumps tax cut, to mention adjacent cities to some of those you mentioned, that offer much more reasonable rates for everything, and offer easy access to places like Milan, Paris, London, etc. due to European mass transit opportunities (ie, trains and subways). An example is Brescia, IT, which by train gets you to Milan or Venice in about an hour, but offers very good restaurants and accommodations at very reasonable prices.

  98. A friend and I recently spent a week in London visiting the Chelsea flower show and world-renowned gardens around London. We didn’t mean the visit to be budget, it just turned out that way. Flew Norwegian from the States. Stayed at a lovely flat in Chelsea found on Home Away. Traveled on the tube and train, walked when we could. Ate at pubs and the National trust sites we visited. Got wine, breakfast and snacks at M&S. It couldn’t have been better if we stayed at the Ritz.

  99. To summarize: Go when it’s winter or rainy season or unbearably hot/humid. Walk or take public transportation. Super helpful.

  100. $400 dollars per night with the third night free? What a bargain ($266/night)!

  101. I was in London in January. The temperature those days was just the same as it was in New York. Sunny and no rain. And few crowds.

  102. @NYCSANDI London in January is indeed low season, tourist-wise. Weather-wise, it is usually rain, rain, rain and very bleak.

  103. This is the second NYT travel article in recent months I've seen about Paris that mentions the "Haut Marais" neighborhood. There is no such place. No one I know in Paris or France ever calls an area within the Marais the "Haut Marais." It's just some neighborhood made up by English-speaking travel writers trying to sound cool. I'm actually surprised you haven't started abbreviating the neighborhood as the HaMa neighborhood. And thank you for not mentioning any of the places I love in the Marais. Please keep it that way, Hauty Mara ;-)

  104. HaMa, LaPi -Paris doesn't really lend itself to developerspeak.

  105. I'm embarrassed to say I read this entire article - I kept hoping something original was coming! Regrettably, no. I recently spent a long weekend in Dublin to go to a rock concert. Dublin, which is already ripping tourists off left and right, had escalated prices so much that the place I often stay (€90) was €330. Out of curiosity I checked: a dorm style hostel was €80 per bed in a room of 10 beds. So.... I booked a VERY high end B&B in Athy, and we parked at The Red Cow (yes!) tube station, and took the metro. No, I could not drink (I drove to the B&B from the metro). Yes, we had to curtail our night a bit (but pubs close at midnight in Ireland, so not by too much). But we saved a heck of a lot. I'm with the poster here, RichGuy. I spend money. But a hotel room on holiday is not where I spend it! A suggestion for those grey haired among you booking a holiday to Ireland. Midweek (you're on vacation: it's all "Saturday" to you!) many nice hotels have 3 nights B&B with 2 nights dinner for VERY good prices. They are typically doing room change overs every day as tourists zoom around Ireland (seeing nothing but asphalt roads!). This way they save on staff/cleaning fees and YOU benefit. Seek out "senior deals." They're often fantastic. Slow down, and get outta the car! Susan Expat in Waterville (Ring of Kerry).

  106. As someone who can hop a train and be in Chicago in 2 hours, we do it frequently. No need to have a car for the weekend. Stay at the Peninsula for $399? What a laugh! There are many other hotels just as nice that have weekend rate specials to attract business like two nights for $299! (did you say right on Michigan Avenue??) and as for getting around, nearly every Chicagoan I know uses a combo of the El (short for elevated train by the way....the article called it the "L"), the bus to the El and walking. So to the person who turned up their nose at public transportation...I'm not sure what alternative you want b/c you certainly don't want to drive here. I faint thinking about it. As for food, I love to explore by discovery. Just like NY, nearly every eatery puts a menu on the window with prices. Many affordable options are available within walking distance of wherever you are. The city has a large Polish / German and Italian influence so if that's your flavor you're in luck! I think it's expense is overstated. BONUS: We're the friendly Midwest!!

  107. @Laurie Not to be picky... it does indeed stand for "elevated train"..but this born and raised south sider knows that it is indeed the "L' with no E..(New York used to have the 3rd and other Avenues El) and the CTA site will happily verify that . That said, it's a great way not only to get around, but to get to some of Chicago's NOT downtown attractions, get downtown from either Midway or O'Hare on the cheap (something one STILL can't do from LGA without taking a bus TO 74/Roosevelt) , and get into the neighborhoods and some of the closest in suburbs (Oak Park, Evanston) for a dose of Frank Lloyd Wright or to see the magnificent Bahai temple in nearby Wilmette---or just literally looking out the window and enjoying the view and pace of city life . (And for you New Yorkers... I like few things better than taking the 7 train to Flushing with stops along the way to eat my way around the world at some of the great ethnic restaurants just a few steps away from the station).

  108. @Joe S As a former New Yorker who goes back there yearly, I must inform you Flushing has been surpassed long ago by Jackson Heights as foodie-center, regarding ethnic restaurants.

  109. Don't see why the complaints about traveling while the weather is not the best are so present. Unless you're going to a beach to soak up the sun or going hiking or something outdoorsy, the weather shouldn't really matter. Most of the time you'll be indoors eating, sleeping, museum visiting or watching a show.

  110. @Trini Regaspi I have never been so cold as late December in Paris - the damp cold goes to the bone no matter how many layers you wear. Weather does matter - that's why they suggest shoulder season.

  111. @Trini Regaspi I disagree. Often the best and most enjoyable way to experience a place is by walking. Weather is an important factor, depending on what you want to do.

  112. Luxury in Mexico City: world class museums, free or very low admission fee, including Museum of Anthropology.

  113. Because of a serious food sensitivity, I've lost the privilege of staying in hotels, period, or of going to restaurants not fully dedicated to my diet. I need a kitchen wherever I go, and travel with my own pots and utensils. Do I miss 5 star hotels? No. I often found them to be quite stifling, and limiting, and very similar to each other. I did enjoy daily housekeeping though! When I go to Chicago now, say, I stay in wonderful airbnb apartments in great neighbourhoods I never saw when staying right downtown in the highrise hotels with porters and parking attendants. I love planning trips even more now, and rely on this great option wherever I go.

  114. As a 2014 Frugal Traveler column noted, the Paris Museum Pass is a great deal. It includes almost every museum you might want to see, lets you skip the regular ticket line, and allows for return visits, so you don’t have to do the Louvre in one, mad day but can stagger your visits over the length of you pass.

  115. I thought I would find interesting, informative and new information here. Not.

  116. @Caroline st Rosch yup. The usual predictable examples.Barca is overrated and a hotbed of thieving. London is filthy,overcrowded and overpriced. Paris? Such an inexpensive friendly place.....I jest. There are numerous cities which leave ALL of these places in their wake.

  117. In Aug. 2016 we went to Paris to celebrate our 50th wedding Anniversary. We decided to rent a condo apt. via AirbNb. the place looked beautiful on the web. However, upon arrival we found out that it was on the 5th floor (96 stairs) the bed was on the floor, shower leaked and no T. paper....It was very hot (90+) and the place had no fan or air conditioner! We couldn't locate the landlord for 2 days. It was absolutely miserable! Finally, we pleaded with a hotel nearby to rent us a place--which they did. So, if you decide to go to Paris, make sure you don't use AirbNb. You will not get ANY help from them.

  118. @Bzl15 So true. I had a similar experience with AirbNb in Paris and their customer service was atrocious. I also spent my time at a hotel where I imagine the clerks have many a story to tell about the bad services provided by hosts in their city.

  119. @Bzl15Beware of Airbnb is most European cities. In Barcelona, due to their complicity in illegal rentals because of lack of "due dilligence" they have been blacklisted. Barcelona city authorities levied a 600,000 Euro fine on Airbnb who were also forced to remove 2,000 ILLEGAL LISTINGS from their website. Airbnb has become nothing but a scam and unregulated greed masquerading as brotherhood and fraternity as a recent NYS item by Mr. Cohen attempted to portray. My former neighborhood in Barceloneta has been one of the victims-- attracting a multitude scammers who will rent an apartment for a normal rate (say 700 Euros a month) under a long term standard lease which does not permit sub-letting. These crooks turn around and sublet their apartment for long weekends and short term vacations for 10 times (or more) what they pay the legal landlord. Airbnb doesn't care about the long term effects to a neighborhood these scams create, all they want is there commission. I just sold my apartment there to a native long-term resident two days ago. On a more positive note, folks over 60 can visit the MNAC museum for free any day and you don't have to stand in line! The first Sunday of the month most museums are free. Also public transportation is a real bargain and not expensive. Enjoy my gorgeous city where I was born and raised!

  120. Agree...we used Airbnb for London and Paris during the summer and while the apartments were nice, none we're equipped with a fan and the owner (or property management company, in one instance) basically said "sorry nothing we can do, we don't provide fans, just grin and bear it!" And this was during a HEAT WAVE in both countries!

  121. Prague is another beautiful city that's reasonably priced. They are part of the EU, but still on the Koruna, so eating out and shopping are much less expensive than in other parts of Europe. It's very easy to get around as well, with main attractions within walking distance of each other, as well as a tram and train system that runs fast and efficient.

  122. Four years ago we did a house exchange with a couple who lived in an apartment located in the center of Paris, within walking distance of many of the great attractions of that city. That exchange was one of several we have done in the last 12 years in various countries in Europe. The only major expense is getting there. There is no rent and you can prepare many of your meals in the home. People that exchange houses are usually not poor. The gentleman from Paris was a medical doctor, his wife, a museum curator. Two years ago the couple from Switzerland, that we exchanged with, were both college professors. The strange thing is, in both of those examples, it was their idea--to come and live in a community of 2700, basically in the middle of nowhere. Of course, their reason was to experience a different culture, a different life, than what they were accustomed to, the same reason we do exchanges, but you save money while doing it.

  123. I'd like to see the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen during the colder months. It all depends on what you want out of your trip.

  124. Correction: Buying a full price $25 entry ticket at any of the Metropolitan Museum of Art venues: Met 5th, Met Breuer or the Cloisters - gets you admission to any of them for 3 days. But not if you get the ticket with a discount broker.

  125. Chicago's beauties are the true small neighborhood places and incredible small owner fine tables like.... luxe lunches at Le Bouchon or La Sardine, Sepia, any meal at El Milagro in Pilsen, A Swedish breakfast at Svea in Andersonville. Instead of a Lou Malnati's chain there are places like Tufano's Vernon Park Tap for a one place non commercialized generations long Chicago Italian neighborhood spot. I'm surprised to see these food suggestions for Chicago include only large " local chains" including Small Cheval and Anker both terribly expensive not very special parts of the huge Hogsalt and One Off hospitality behemoths. "Luxury" eating can be about small and amazing restaurants which get you far more lovely meals than an easy to find in any hipster urban place 12 dollar hamburger/oysters on half shell meal. Chicagoans love to share their small loved places that are not only 10 restaurant running small corporate style hospitality concept offshoots.

  126. While staying on N. Clark once in Chicago, I walked to a bus stop, took the bus downtown, took a boat on the river to a train station, took the train south, took another bus for a few miles, got off the bus and walked a few blocks to my destination on S. 119th St. It took a while but I saw a lot of Chicago and enjoyed it.

  127. We are headed to Paris next fall so I checked out the hotel recommendations. Afraid they were very much luxury at luxury prices (I'd hate to think what "luxury for MORE" looks like.) I will never understand spending 4-500 Euros per night for a room you are awake in for only a few hours. Having said that I will happily sleep cheap and eat expensive. I'd love to see an article on rock-bottom clean well-located accommodations and best franc-to-value high-end restaurants. Now THAT is a trip to Paris.

  128. @Margot Haliday Knight "Best franc-to-value high-end restaurants?" You're a number of years late. It's the Euro now and there are no best value high-end restaurants. My first trip to Paris was in 1956 when it was 360 francs to the dollar. Those were the good old days.

  129. Another of a long line of predictable NYT travel articles. Are we all supposed to want to stay in some "Luxury" 5* hotel in some Instagram-worthy location ...but...we can't really afford to so the author tells us to go in January when rates are lower. Really, none of us could have figured this out? Ditto for the tips about not renting a car for our stays in London, Paris or NYC for example. Really, how many of us would have thought we should? Yes, as other readers mention: click-bait and repetitive info. Makes me wonder who the "writer" really is and who some of the "commenters" are who say the list should have included XYZ city as if this is a comprehensive and meaningful travel list. A real article might have included some real tips on cool neighborhoods, "charming small hotels" and great restaurants but without Michelin stars. Maybe not all of us want Instagram-able pseudo-luxury (as defined by the writer) vacations.

  130. Not sure what the Lillian Aviles means when she says Mexico City is "hot" in the summer. It's at 7300 feet and rarely "hot," even in August when the average daytime temperature is in the 70's. It *is* the rainy season but that has its advantages, the showers come in the afternoon and clean out the air for gorgeous views

  131. The prices quoted for custom tailors in Hong Kong are off, unless you want low quality. Hong Kong stopped being a value destination for tailors more than a decade ago. You get what you pay for. And. I personally would not recommend Jantzen Tailors in Central. They outsource their work to cheap tailors based in China and the quality reflects it.

  132. BORING! Usual predictable examples...London, Paris, Milan, NY et al. Some of the least friendly most overrated cities on earth that really don't need any more tourism publicity. Try using some imagination.

  133. Here's your problem - you contradict the goal of your premise in the article. If you take public transit, go off season, eat less expensive food, you by definition are not having a luxury vacation for less, you simply are not having a luxury vacation. You can in Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Lisbon, Bratislava, Spelt, and most of Canada, mostly due to the exchange rate. Perhaps your article should be about how to have a luxury vacation in a sophiscated, but somewhat off the beaten path location.

  134. Move along, there's not much to see here. Apart from some plugs for some favorite hotels and restaurants, here's the message: 1) Go off season 2) Splurge on lunch, not dinner, in a fancy restaurant 3) Use public transportation instead of personal drivers. Well, duh! Here are three of my alternate suggestions: 4) Use your accrued frequent flyer and lodging points in these expensive places; I stayed in the very expensive Palacio Duhau in Buenos Aires that way (and even got a free upgrade). 5) There are free walking tours at 10AM or so (do a search) in almost every big city, a great way to get a sense of a place on your first visit there. 6) If you are staying somewhere for more than a couple of days, check out the local transit and culture passes, such as Copenhagen's City Pass.

  135. After that fiasco about "Los An-guh-lees" in last weeks travel section, I guess there'll be no further mentions of it or San Francisco?

  136. I haven't seen any Buenos Aires comments but we spent all of last December and January in Argentina including five weeks in BA. Our BA condo in the middle of Palermo was $40 a night paid in greenbacks. The subway is less than fifty cents and a taxi averages three to five dollars. The food is affordable and every day was a cultural, historical and geographical adventure. We never felt unsafe or threatened. We spent the other three weeks in Ushuaia, El Califate and Bariloche all along the Andes in Patagonia. You just have to get used to the Spanish with an Italian accent. Two months for about the same cost as two weeks in London, Paris or New York.

  137. Eat lunch out rather than dinner and save a lot by avoiding alcohol and desserts. My wife and I celebrated a wedding anniversary last night by going to dinner at a local French restaurant. Two steaks with a few appetizers came to a total of$75-. My wife had a $9.00 glass of French wine and I had only water but drank a beer at the house before going out. By skipping a beer(for me) and dodging a $9- dessert we saved $15- on the bill, before the added $3 for a 20% tip. I gave the waiter a $16.00 tip (approx 20%) and when he learned we celebrated our anniversary at his restaurant, he brought us a dessert in a take out carrier to enjoy at home. Total cost of the meal out was $91-.Even though we were out in our home city, the principle here applies anywhere.

  138. It would be nice if the NYT mentioned the relationship between those mentioned in this article and the NYT. This is somewhat of a promo for at least one company.

  139. These are pretty unimaginative ideas. I've got a couple: Book a room in a hotel that hasn't opened yet and doesn't have any reviews. They often the lower the price by a lot to get people to stay and write reviews. I got a really good deal in Kyoto that way. Second, only stay in luxury hotels in cities like Phnom Penh or Hanoi, where the hotel market is really competitive. You can stay in some really luxurious hotels for very little money. When you're in places like New York or Paris, stay in less luxurious hotels.

  140. Mexico City rarely gets above 80 degrees F, and July though September is the rainy season.... implying the heat should be a deterrent is pretty strange

  141. You can travel in Banquet Splendor Style on a shoestring budget by visiting the Microtel Motel in Robbinsville, North Carolina in December. Because the rooms are only 120 square feet they are very affordable at only $89 a night. They have COLOR TV and Magic Fingers in every room. (The Magic Fingers are $3 for 5 minutes but they take credit cards.) There is no in-house restaurant to waste money in, but you can bring your own ice chest or cooler to your room. There is also a nearby Hardy’s! So stop this nonsense about spending $1,000 a day on “budget” hotels and cuisine. C’mon up to Robbinsville and sleep in one of our AIR CONDITIONED motel rooms!!! You’ll be real glad you did!!!

  142. When in Buenos Aires, try out an amazing in-home private supper club such as Casa Saltshaker, in the Barrio Norte neighborhood. For Greek dining in NYC, skip the needlessly fancy/overpriced Estiatorio Milos in Manhattan, and instead head to Astoria, Queens for your pick of authentic Greek neighborhood restaurants. (Astoria is just a 20-25 minute train ride from Midtown Manhattan.) There's the famous Taverna Kyclades (if you don't mind long waits) or else there's Elias' Corner, Gregory 26 Taverna, Bahari, Stamatis, Loukoumi Taverna, etc.

  143. I was so disappointed in the write-up on Mexico City. "Prices also dip between May and September, when the weather is hot, but given the temperatures, the savings may not be worth it." Really? I was in Mexico City for two weeks in July, the average high was 73; I wore pants almost every day. It was wonderfully cool and mild. Ms. Vora applied a stereotype to Mexico, instead of checking her climate tables. Mexico City sits at over 7300 feet, so it rarely hits 80 degrees in the summer. Please don't jump on the Trump bandwagon and trash Mexico, visit it and they write about it.