The 15 Cheapest Vacation Spots for 2019

A street in Mijas, located in Spain's Costa del Sol region.
A street in Mijas, located in Spain's Costa del Sol region.
iStock.com/amoklv

If you’re planning to take a vacation this year but don’t want to spend a fortune, the latest Holiday Money report from Post Office Travel Money might inspire an idea or two. Its round-up includes popular vacation destinations in the U.S., Mexico, Europe, Africa, and Asia where you’ll get the best deals in 2019, as Insider reports.

Post Office, a UK-based provider of foreign currency, created its rankings using data from tourist boards and tour operators. It compared the cost of eight items that tourists are likely to be shelling out money for, including dinner for two, a bottle of beer, a cup of coffee, and sunscreen. (This list accounts for local travel costs, but if you’re looking to save money, you’ll also need to factor airfare into the equation. This will vary, depending on which city you fly out of and into.)

Of the 42 resort towns and cities analyzed, Bulgaria’s aptly-named Sunny Beach is the place where your dollar will go the furthest. Located along the Black Sea, this tourist hub is known for its nightlife, amusement and water parks, and affordable hotels.

Next on the list is the Turkish resort town of Marmaris, situated along the Mediterranean coast. In addition to sun and sea, its proximity to a 16th-century castle and rock tombs may also appeal to history and architecture buffs.

For more travel ideas, check out the 15 cheapest destinations below. (Then read the full report here.)

1. Sunny Beach, Bulgaria
2. Marmaris, Turkey
3. Algarve, Portugal
4. Cape Town, South Africa
5. Costa del Sol, Spain
6. Tokyo, Japan
7. Mombasa, Kenya
8. Prague, Czech Republic
9. Paphos, Cyprus
10. Bali, Indonesia
11. Hoi An, Vietnam
12. Sliema, Malta
13. Cancun, Mexico
14. Orlando, Florida, USA
15. Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

[h/t Insider]

Snuggle a Raccoon While You Sip Your Coffee at Ukraine’s Raccoon Cafe

bozhdb/iStock via Getty Images
bozhdb/iStock via Getty Images

Raccoons are often misunderstood creatures. While many people see them only as furry little pests who root through your trash or hole up in your attic (which they sometimes do), others think they make great pets. Mark Kolesnykov, founder of the recently opened Raccoon Cafe in Kharkiv, Ukraine, falls squarely into the latter group.

The Raccoon Cafe gives customers the unique opportunity to interact with and give belly rubs to Liza and Bart, a lovable pair of raccoons Kolesnykov adopted from a local eco-farm when they were just babies (a.k.a. kits).

The animals have a special enclosure in the cafe, where guests can watch them play and, if they're lucky, give them a pet. The exterior of the cafe pays tribute to the masked mammals with a mural of Guardians of the Galaxy’s Rocket Raccoon and various raccoons dressed up as superheroes, including Spider-Man (Raccoon-man?) and Wonder Woman.

Though it only just opened, the Raccoon Cafe is already proving to be a huge hit; CNN reports that the space is attracting approximately 200 visitors per day, which means that some customers must wait up to 30 minutes for their chance to interact with and feed the pair (neither of which are things you should ever do with a raccoon in the wild).

Patrons who'd rather not get too close can also just watch the pair as they climb around their enclosure, play with their toys, and interact with guests—and each other—in a special indoor room that’s equipped with soundproof glass and special lighting.

Kolesnykov told UATV that part of the cafe's allure is that while people regularly see photos and videos of raccoons doing adorable things, few people have ever witnessed their behavior up close. In person, according to Kolesnykov, the animals are “livelier” and even more “mischievous” than what people have seen on YouTube.

The cafe, however, is not without its critics. Animal psychologist Andriy Hapchenko, head researcher at Feldman Ecopark in Kharkiv, expressed concerns to UATV about businesses like the Raccoon Cafe, saying that wild animals that are used for business purposes can often be harmed by the amount of human attention (and food) they're given. But Kolesnykov assures potential customers that he consulted with veterinarians before opening the space to make sure that Liza and Bart would be both safe and happy.

[h/t CNN]

This London Pub Might Be the Most Ethical Bar in the World

Ridofranz/Getty Images
Ridofranz/Getty Images

Pub owner Randy Rampersad is doing his part for sustainability. In June, he opened the Green Vic—a play on the fictional Queen Vic pub in the soap opera EastEnders—in the East London neighborhood of Shoreditch. The Telegraph reports it’s aiming to be the world’s most ethical pub: Rampersad eschews plastic and paper straws and opts for gluten-free wheat “straws.” He sources the bar's 100 percent recycled toilet paper from green-minded company Who Gives a Crap, and the communal wooden tables are upcycled.

“I wanted to make the world a better place and run my own business, but I was waiting for that eureka moment,” Rampersad told The Telegraph. He discovered no one had done anything like this before.

There’s no meat on the menu—the food is totally vegan, healthy-ish pub grub. You can add CBD oil to the “chkn" bites appetizer, and the burgers are made from ingredients like soy, seaweed, and sweet potato. The beers are produced by ethical brewers, too: Toast Ale uses unsold loaves and crusts of bread; Good Things Brewing crafts its beer from 100 percent renewable energy; South Africa’s Afro Vegan Cider donates money to an organization that funds equal pay for female farmers; and Brewgooder donates to water projects.

In fact, everything the Green Vic does has charity in mind. “We don't care about the money, I’m planet first and profit after,” Rampersad told The Telegraph. Up to 80 percent of its profits will go to charitable causes, including local food banks. As for the staff, one in four are from marginalized groups. The Green Vic plans to operate as a three-month pop-up pub while scouting for longer term investment.

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