Author: Susan M-W

Living up to her turn-of-the-millennium resolution, Susan MacCallum-Whitcomb doffed her professorial robes and traded university teaching for full-time travel writing in 2000. In the years since, she has covered six continents and contributed to dozens of Fodor’s guide books, as well as a host of popular magazines, newspapers and websites (Canadian Living, Global Traveler, The Globe & Mail,,, Wedding Bells … you get the picture). When not riding camels with her kids in the Sahara, breezing through museums in Boston, or tangoing badly in Buenos Aires, Susan can be found working happily at home in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Sometimes you might feel an irresistible urge to see a specific European city or visit a particular continental site, and nothing short of that will do. More often than not, however, it is a certain type of trip that travelers crave. So here are three affordable Eastern European variations on classic vacation themes.

A Habsburg Holiday: Zagreb is an economical alternative for anyone who adores Vienna or Budapest. It’s geographically closer to those cities than …

Read More
Basel, Brussels, Bologna: these three European cities may appear near the top of the list alphabetically. Yet they seldom top travel itineraries. That’s good news for vacationers who prefer lower-profile, less crowded — but no less charming — destinations. So go ahead. Dare to “B” different.
BASEL, Switzerland:
Although it’s impossible not to fall in love with Switzerland’s Heidi-esque vistas, the country’s urban attractions deserve equal billing. Under-appreciated Basel is a case in point… and
Read More
Québec City, the 400-year old capital of “New France,” has long been viewed as a budget-friendly alternative to expensive Old World destinations. But this summer it’s a better value than ever thanks to no-charge attractions and activities that give new meaning to the locals’ traditional rally cry “Vive le Québec Libre!” (“Long live free Quebec”).

Tour the Town: Quaint, cobbled, and impossibly pretty, the UNESCO-designated Old City is easily covered on foot. To
Read More

Dear Travel IQ: I loved the ideas last week about house swapping. What if I want to stay in hotels, though? Do you have some good ways to save on my hotel bills that doesn’t involve camping out in a hostle?

Signed: Cheap, cheap, really, really cheap

Dear Cheap: These days, when every penny counts, no one wants to overspend on vacation accommodations. Some folks figure the only alternative is to crash on …

Read More

Ready to shake the “tourist” label and go native on your next trip across the pond? These tips will have you rubbing elbows with residents in no time.

Tweak your itinerary

If your gameplan is to tick off every site mentioned in your guide book and simultaneously hang with locals in their natural habitat, you may have to re-prioritize. After all, many notable tourist attractions are only that – attractions for tourists. You won’t find …

Read More