Whether you’re backpacking your way through Europe or planning your next family vacation, it’s important to understand where to find the best budget-friendly travel destinations. Even though many European cities might seem of your price range, with just a bit of research, you can uncover hidden gems with delicious food, luxurious lodging, and breathtaking sites that are actually affordable. The European Backpacker Index recently put together a list of the most affordable European cities to travel to in 2018.
Zagreb, Croatia: $35.16 per day
Zagreb is Croatia’s capital city. In the early 1990’s Zagreb was far from a desirable travel destination as a result of tensions following Croatia and Slovenia seceding from Yugoslavia and declaring independence. These days, however, Zagreb flies under the radar as an affordable city with the same charm as Austria or Switzerland.
Krakow, Poland: $27.68 per day
Because Krakow isn’t a big tourist destination, you can easily find 4- and 5-star hotels for about half the price of those in cities like Madrid, Vienna, or Bruges. With attractions like the Wawel Castle, Basilica Cathedral, and Main Market Square, Krakow is truly a budget backpacker’s paradise.
Budapest, Hungary: $33.86 per day
Even though Budapest has become a highly-sought-after tourist destination in recent years, it has somehow maintained affordable prices. Whether it’s fancy restaurants, high-end hotels, or can’t-miss attractions, Budapest is a must-see.
Bratislava, Slovakia: $42.02 per day
With the historic Old Town, Devin Castle and Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, Bratislava, Slovakia is the perfect starting point for a Euro-trip. You can even use this affordable city as a home base for day trips to more expensive countries like Austria or Hungary. It’s a great way to save a few bucks and have an amazing experience while doing so!
Country music fans surely know of the genre’s biggest power couple, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. After 21 years together, they recently made a shocking announcement.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have been staples not only in country music but in each other’s lives. After a recent anniversary, they took the opportunity to share some information. Their relationship has never been ordinary, but their newest bit of news came unexpectedly…
Fans Didn’t See It Coming
Before they took over country music, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were just two musicians trying to make it in the business. They first met in 1994 at the New Faces Show in Nashville, Tennessee. At the time of their introduction, Faith was coming off her divorce from Daniel Hill, a music publishing executive. They had married six years earlier. Tim, on the other hand, was dating Kristine Donahue. They only met briefly, but it certainly left an impression on both of them.
Teaming Up On Tour
Two years went by since their first meeting, but they would soon spend plenty of time together. Hill and McGraw were the headliners on a joint tour titled ‘Spontaneous Combustion’ in 1996. The stars, however, were still not aligned. McGraw’s relationship with Kristine Donahue seemed strong, but he called off their engagement. Unfortunately, this time, Faith was engaged to Scott Hendricks, a record producer. It seemed like it wouldn’t work out, but something changed on the first night of the tour.
Predictably, the two charming individuals had undeniable chemistry. Anyone could see how well they interacted as they shared the stage. The time spent together on tour brought them closer, and things became more intense as the tour progressed. How could they deny their attraction to each other? Unfortunately, Faith was engaged which complicated things. She couldn’t contain her wandering eye but had a major decision to make. Faith had to decide to stay true to her man or see where things with Tim could go.
Faith would not have long to make up her mind. After the show one evening, Faith accepted an invitation to come back to Tim’s dressing room. They clearly had some unresolved tension and had grown very close to each other over the tour. While in the dressing room, Tim decided to go for it and made his move. They had their first kiss and could tell that something real was brewing. Faith realized what she wanted to do and called off her engagement.
Falling In Love
It did not take long for them to develop into a true power couple. Their relationship was getting stronger every day due to touring together, and their feelings for one another continued to develop. Soon enough fans would be in on the big secret, lapping up every second of their public romance. After a few months together, Faith and Tim made their first public appearance together at Andre Agassi’s Grand Slam for Children event in September 1996.
Unapologetically In Love
Due to the way Faith had left her previous relationship for Tim, many fans treated her quite poorly. She received plenty of negative remarks from her fans putting their two cents into her love life. She openly responded, “If someone is going to judge my character because I was engaged to somebody and then I left him for somebody else, I can’t control that.” She added, “But I wasn’t about to let Tim slip through my hands. And I had more self-worth and self-respect to not.”
The Unexpected News
Their relationship was moving quickly, and the couple received some great news in late 1996 – Faith was pregnant and expecting a child. Her pregnancy came as a bit of a shock, especially to their fans. However, everyone loved catching a glimpse of the couple at red carpet events with Faith showing off her baby bump. Everyone expected Faith to be a great mom, but one thing was still missing. Tim wanted to make their love official and wanted to get married before they welcomed the child.
Popping The Question
McGraw knew he had to make Faith his wife. He told of the moment, “It was raining and stuff, and we’d been on tour for a while together, and I joked around with her about getting married. And so I said… I looked at her, grabbed her by the hand, and dropped forward onstage. She had already done her show. And I said, ‘I’m really serious. I want you to marry me.” When Tim came off stage, Faith had written ‘Yes!’ into the mirror.
Surprise celebrity weddings are all the hype now, but Faith and Tim were two of the earliest examples. They tricked their friends and family into coming to Tim’s hometown of Rayville, Louisiana for a softball game and a concert. Instead, they surprisingly arrived for Tim and Faith’s wedding ceremony. Faith was three months pregnant at the time and said ‘I Do’ to Tim under an oak tree while wearing a white dress and no shoes. Tim rocked a black coat and blue jeans.
Green Eyed Girlfriend
Even when McGraw was with somebody else, it was clear that his feelings for Hill were deep and serious. He knew that she was going to change his life forever. “For me, there was an intense physical attraction,” he said. “I guess my girlfriend saw it in my eyes. She said, ‘I don’t want you around her.'” But this only sparked bad things for his ex, who knew that something didn’t feel right and that ultimately, she was on her way out.
Faith Hill had been open about the fact she was adopted at a young age, but later gave insights as to how she felt when meeting her biological mother. She said “The first time I met (my birth mother), I just stared at her. I’d never seen anyone that looked anything like me. It was the awe of seeing someone you came from. It fills something.” Although Faith was unsure how she would feel at the meeting, this emotion was unexpected for her.
Thankful For Adoption
Faith explained how she had an amazing relationship with her adopted parents, but couldn’t help but thank her birth mother for giving her that opportunity to live with them. She said “I can’t imagine the choice to do that and how thankful I am that she was able to give me the opportunity that I had because I was placed into an incredible home that I mean basically is responsible for the way I am today and the backbone that I have.”
In 1997, Hill and McGraw appeared at the American Music Awards and amazingly, it was one of the first times they appeared in public together. Hill was heavily pregnant at the time and despite her white dress, there was an evident bump. One thing was for sure though, the couple was deeply in love and proud to share the news with the public. Also it was undeniable that they couldn’t wait to share their arrival with friends, family and the rest of the world.
It was only after their wedding that the couple made their feelings public. In short, they mutually felt the same way about each other. “I mean I think we had a pretty instant knowledge that we were going to be together forever,” McGraw said. Although there have been so many celebrity couples who haven’t lasted, these seem to break that mold, being renowned for being one of the most special couples out there, making what they had last up until the present day.
Baby On Board
The nine months had passed, and fans were just so excited to finally be introduced the Hill and McGraw’s bundle of joy. The time had finally come, and in May 1997, they welcomed their first child into the world, a little girl called Gracie Katherine. As a result, Hill took some much needed time off to focus on family life. However, it wouldn’t take long before the couple planned on having their second child. Not only was their family growing, but so was their love.
What Happens On Tour…
On a professional and a personal level, Hill and McGraw were inseparable. They spent all their time together both at home, in the studio and backstage. They got so comfortable being together all the time that they ended up calling their tour bus the love bus. “A lot goes on in that bus,” Hill cheekily said. But whatever happened on that bus was between Faith, Tim and no one else. Throughout their career, groupies haven’t been an option.
Being a caregiver came very naturally to Faith. She treated her family life extremely seriously and was giving her daughter the best upbringing imaginable, despite her fame. She would always express her excitement as being a mother in interviews and she would be incredibly homesick whenever away from her family. “I can’t even say what my greatest fear is because I, I can’t even imagine,” she said. “Being without my family … I can’t even say it because it makes me cry.”
Making Sweet Music
After four intense years on the road, Hill took a much needed three-year break from the music game, and also had her second child, Mary Elizabeth. However, her comeback ended up being a duet with her beloved husband, Tim. “It’s Your Love” was the name of the duet and was an instant smash. Their individual success simply meant that their work together could be even more successful. Alone they were strong, but together? They were even stronger.
McGraw realized that even though he loved his family dearly, his life as a musician changed drastically after becoming a family man. “It gives everything a focus,” he said. “You feel like you got your arms around everything, and you know where your life’s headed. You just find a peace you never had before.” It was a sentiment that every loving dad and husband could relate to. It seemed like, after having children, Faith and Tim had so much more purpose in their lives.
Award Winning Couple
Their duet hit “It’s Your Love” was so successful that it stayed at number one for six straight weeks. Eventually, it even garnered awards, winning many at the Academy of Country Music Awards. But for Faith, it’s so much more than just a song, it means so much more. “It [doesn’t] feel like anybody else was really watching,” she said. One amazing pledge that the couple made was never to be away from each other for more than three days.
Towards the turn of the millennium, Hill eventually returned to her solo career. She released a self-titled album and the record exhibited her raw singing talent, while at the same time creating a pop sound never usually associated with her. McGraw ended up on songs such as “Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me,” “Let Me Let Go,” and “The Secret of Life.” After the album struck a chord with many fans, the couple announced a new tour.
Expanding The Brood
With two busy careers to manage on top of their two children, many fans expected by 1999 that the couple would stop focusing on growing their family. Faith and Tim bucked all expectation when they shared their plans publicly. Tim told reporters, “Ideally, we’d love five kids.” Naturally, they followed up by asking if he wanted a son, to which he responded, “I always wanted boys, but in a way I want it to stay this way. Just keep having girls. That way I’ll always dress good.”
Together We Tour
Prior to 2000, the two country stars had never headlined a tour together. They changed that with their Soul2Soul tour, and were accompanied by one of their daughters. The two enjoyed touring together, as they got to split the profits and didn’t have to take any time away from one another. Tim and Faith seemed to be happily in love throughout the tour, but that never stopped the rumor mill from constantly trying to suggest that they were days away from an imminent separation.
Hitting Back At Rumors
The constant fairytales the press would tell regarding instability in their marriage deeply upset the couple. Faith fired back, saying “I’ve had an affair with my makeup artist, a female; an affair with my hairstylist; my marriage is on the rocks; Maggie is not Tim’s child, the naysayers. I don’t need their approval. I have too much going on. If that’s their entertainment, fine.” Celebrity marriages may be difficult to hold together, but this was not the case for Faith and Tim.
Faith and Tim had such a strong relationship that in interview after interview they would talk about how wonderful the other was. Faith opened up in 2000 about just how much Tim had brought to her life. She said, “Tim has given me confidence and strength and my foundation. He makes me feel like I can conquer the world.” Their love resulted in another child, whom Faith gave birth to in 2001, who they named Audrey. They were on top of the world, but it couldn’t last.
Tim knew that he was a product of his father, Tug McGraw’s legacy, but he had never grappled with what that truly meant for his life before he knew Faith. Tim eventually opened up about his self doubts, sharing “I knew I had that instability and dysfunction in me, from the way I grew up. And when I met Faith, I knew I needed her in my life–to keep me stable, solid and on track.” However, he needed her more than he knew.
Standing Up For Faith
Anyone who is in the public eye will be subject to bizarre or over the top criticism, and Faith Hill was not immune. Tim McGraw, however, is her biggest champion, always at the ready to defend her honor. Tim may even get more upset about the insults Faith receives than she is herself. He said, “Critics who attack my wife bug me.” He added, “It makes me want to pay ’em a visit so I could give ’em a good punch in the nose.”
The superstar country singers have never been shy about their love for their country, often displaying their patriotism publicly. They are also ardent supporters of the United States Armed Forces, so when they had the opportunity in 2003, they decided to perform at the Army base in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After praising the troops, Tim told the audience of military personnel, “Faith is just cool, she’s really a smart, smart lady that has got everything together and knows her priorities.”
Tim, had some secrets he had been holding onto for many years. It wasn’t until 2008 that he was ready to open about his inability to perform without having a couple of drinks first. Tim knew it was time to get help. He later said, “Faith saved my life in a lot of ways—from myself more than anything. I can go down a dark road sometimes, when you’re not feeling good about yourself, and she pulls me out. My wife makes me a better man.”
Tim knew that even though Faith’s presence had been steadfast until then, she would not remain by his side forever if he didn’t start making drastic changes to his lifestyle. Faith was at her breaking point, and as much as she loved her husband, she knew he would also benefit from some tough love. She finally told Tim that if he didn’t improve his coping mechanisms, she would be leaving along with all three of their daughters. Tim turned to martial arts to fill the hole alcohol left.
Talking It Out
Even after many years together, Tim and Faith love each other as much as they did when they first began their romance. Tim has shared one of their secrets to success is their easy communication. He has revealed, “She [Faith] would be perfectly happy if I told her, ‘Let’s get in the car and ride for two hours and talk.’ That would be as big a gift to her as anything.” They both know that expressing themselves to one another is the bedrock of their marriage.
Back On Top
Fame and fortune usually do not go hand in hand with maintaining a healthy, stable and supportive romantic relationship, but it seems McGraw and Hill accomplished the unachievable. While both are balancing successful careers, they also make the time and effort to spend time with the other, which could contribute to the fact they are happily married to this day. When McGraw appeared in the film The Blind Side, wife Hill also contributed to the Oscar-nominated project by providing the soundtrack, Country Strong.
McGraw was referred to as a natural, taking upon himself the role of Sean Tuohy, the father of Collins and S.J. and husband of Leigh Anne Tuohy, played by Sandra Bullock. He explained that it was somewhat simple fitting himself into the role, saying: “I’m very family-oriented. I’ve always been family-oriented. I came from a disoriented, dysfunctional family growing up. That probably instilled in me the need and want to have a strong family and a great foundation. That’s something I naturally gravitate towards.”
Inspiring One Another
Faith Hill was not shy when speaking of her husband, explaining the reason she still looks up to him after all this time. “Tim inspires me every day in many, many ways.” She noted, adding: “I draw inspiration from his assertiveness and from watching him being a father and a husband.” The dynamic duo was not short on critics, however, in spite of projecting a strong front to all. They have stuck together through the good times and the bad, but not everyone saw it that way.
Two Lanes of Freedom, Tim McGraw’s album, was released in 2013, but seemed to drag the wrong sort of attention with it. Rumors started flying that there might be trouble in paradise, to which Hill responded by saying “[Rumors] seem to be running like crazy right now for some reason. It’s perplexing. I don’t know why ‘happy’ can’t be a story.” Equally frustrated Tim added, “We’ve been married 17 years, and since the first week we were married those things were out, we don’t even think about it.”
When it was time for Tim and Faith’s daughter Maggie to go to college, they had a hard time dealing with the fact their baby girl is all grown up. “It’s beautiful, and it’s sad all at one time,” said Tim. “You know, you can’t wait for them to sort of see what they make of themselves and do with themselves when they get out from under your umbrella, but you’re also nervous and sad because you’re gonna miss ’em.”
Tim gave Oprah Winfrey an interview, in which he explained that what gets the marriage going is that “we close our door at home; we are husband and wife and a mother and a father.” As for Faith as a mother, he explained: “I think about the fact that we’re married and the fact that we raised these three beautiful daughters. And then I think about having three daughters and having [Hill] for their mom. It’s a pretty cool thing for those girls to have her.”
In 2013, Faith Hill came forward with her brother Zachary White’s addiction to illegal substances. Although at a dark point in his life, White later elaborated on his situation, saying: “I made my share of mistakes in the past, but Faith showed me that I could be a better person, I turned my life around, and I owe much of that to Faith and Tim. If it weren’t for them, there’s no telling where I’d be now.”
As for parenting strategies, Hill and McGraw had to inevitably accept the fact that their daughters would want to follow in their footsteps and break into the music industry. “The one thing we stress is that you don’t get things handed to you on a silver platter — you have to work for the things you want, they know it takes hard work.” Hill added, saying that “As a parent, you don’t want to stand in the way of their dreams.”
A New Duet
Both Hill and McGraw’s large fanbases are used to the fact that the two occasionally merge powers (and voices) to bring harmonious, loving onto the stage. However, come 2015, Tim decided to switch things up a bit and invite his talented 18-year-old daughter Gracie to join him on stage. The two sang “Here Tonight,” and were so tremendously successful, the proud mother hen Hill could not help but join the daddy-daughter duet on stage, which left the crowd roaring.
Enjoying The Moment
The two have performed together on stage for over 20 years, but as Tim explained, some things simply never change. McGraw shyly confessed that his wife still takes his breath away: “It amazes me every night, every chance I get to sing with her.” The country star might put out a certain tough-guy image, but the truth is that, “When you see somebody you love up there, it’s a lot more.” As nerve-wracking as it may be, Tim’s stress is unnoticeable to the crowd.
It is common for artists to draw inspiration from one another and Faith admitted that there is one particular pop star she looks up to when performing. She stated “The truth is, I want to be Beyoncé every single freaking night of my life, so I go out there thinking, ‘I am Beyoncé!'” Although they sing in completely different genres, Beyonce and Faith have more in common than you’d think as they both have high-profile marriages to musicians, and both went on a couples tour.
Keeping The Family Together
One of the great things about Tim as a husband, is that he notices and gives thanks to his wife for being so good to him and the family. McGraw gushed that “She’s the light of our whole family’s life. She keeps everything going for us. We all strive to be like my wife, everybody in our family. If your wife holds the example for everybody in your family, that’s a good thing.” Tim also gave her a compliment on her appearance, calling her his “hot wife.”
Writing For His Women
In March 2017, Faith and Tim released a single together titled “Speak to a Girl.” Tim added that it was particularly special for his family as he drew inspiration for it through the women in his life. He said, “It’s special for us, having three daughters—me being a husband and Faith being a mom of three daughters and growing up in a world of all women like I did, I think it’s just a really special song.”
Meet The Parents
One of the scary moments for a guy in a relationship is meeting the parents. McGraw might have accidentally scared off his daughter’s boyfriend in their first meeting. When Gracie’s boyfriend walked in the middle of a barbeque, he was shocked by the image he saw. Tim says he was “in the kitchen and I forget that he’s coming. I have a white apron on and a knife and I’m trimming meat up, so I’ve got chunks of meat all over this white apron, blood everywhere.”
Pushing Each Other’s Buttons
Tim and Faith have a seemingly flawless marriage. However, if you pay close attention to their lyrics, they reveal that they have their issues here and there. “I know that sometimes you hate me/We spend most of our days together with you trying to change me,” their duet goes. This was shocking to many, but Faith revealed that sometimes she, “like[s] a good fight,” and she “know[s] how to press those buttons. And if [she’s] a little angry, [she] can press those buttons big time.”
Fighting With Faith
One thing that is unavoidable in a relationship is arguments. Whether we want to believe it or not, Tim and Faith also get into arguments. However, it is not as bad as it sounds. Their arguments are the sort of disputes that you envy, because are not digging at each others’ deepest insecurities or sending each other on guilt trips. Rather, McGraw admitted that “the last [argument] we got [into], [he] didn’t load the dishwasher or something.” We bet Tim loaded the dishwasher the next time it came up.
Many people started to get concerned about Faith’s health in 2017. This was due to the fact that she was looking like she was shedding too many pounds. Fans worried that she would become gaunt, and they were also concerned she was ill. Medical professionals believed that she was simply overworked with touring, perhaps dehydrated, and maybe even had a heart issue. However, a source close to Hill simply explained she sometimes skipped meals when busy, and she had increased her workouts.
The Best Memories
Things get stale after being together for over 20 years, but somehow, the spark is still there between McGraw and Hill. Part of how they do so is by performing together, which bonds them together in a unique way. Of the performances, Tim relates that “The memories we have created every time we have gone out have been the best memories of our career.” Plus, very practically, he adds that they have “two kids in college, what else are we gonna do?”
Making It Last
Some couples struggle with keeping that original spark alive, but somehow Faith and Tim seem to be as in love as ever. When asked how they have stuck together for so long, McGraw gave a tongue-in-cheek answer: “Well, she tolerates a lot, I think that’s probably the main reason.” Faith chuckled, but also admitted that Tim “tolerate[s] a lot too.” and that she is “not the easiest person.” At the core, she said the secret is simple: “we do actually like one another.”
Fame In The Family
Little did Tim McGraw know, but his birth father wasn’t just some backwoods nobody. His mother was only in high school when she met Tug McGraw, who lived in the apartment directly above hers in Jacksonville, Florida. At the time, Tug was pitching for the Jacksonville Suns, which was then a triple A international team. When Betty, Tim’s mother became pregnant, however, she was shipped off to hide with relatives in Louisiana. Unburdened by the unplanned pregnancy, Tug McGraw continued on to the major leagues.
Tim McGraw wasn’t raised with the same last name as his father, however. In fact, he didn’t know until he was 11 that his stepfather, Horace Smith, wasn’t his biological father, as his mother never bothered to tell him, and McGraw donned the last name of ‘Smith’ at the time. When he happened to stumble upon his birth certificate, he knew he had to understand the legacy that would follow him for the rest of his life, including into his marriage with Faith.
Tim could never forget the first time he met Tug McGraw, the pitcher was already well known, having played for the New York Mets for a number of years, including the 1969 season, in which the Mets won the World Series. Tug, for his part, however, refused to acknowledge that Tim was his son after their introduction. It took until Tim was nearly 18 before Tug recognized just how similar his son’s appearance was to his at the same age.
In His Father’s Footsteps
Without knowing about his dad’s legacy, Tim found himself drawn to the world of team sports, eventually earning himself a baseball scholarship to Northeast Louisiana University. Unfortunately for Tim though, he ended up injuring his knee during a game and was forced to give up any dreams he had of going pro. It was his luck then that he’d also picked up guitar while in college, which ended up earning him an equally high profile career.
Cooking From The Heart
In a joint interview with Southern Living magazine, Faith revealed just how Tim attempted to win her heart at the beginning of the relationship. “[Tim] brought me chicken and dumplings.” Faith revealed. “[He] came to my house [unannounced]. He knocked on my door, and he had a bowl of homemade chicken dumplings.” Tim added that he’d also made her cornbread. He knew his immense effort to make these comfort foods from scratch would demonstrate just how much he cared for her.
Out Of Place
One of the things that Faith and Tim were able to bond over the most deeply was their unanchored upbringing. Faith was raised by adopted parents with an inkling that she was an outsider. She told Southern Living, “I used to think there was some kind of conspiracy, that I must be the daughter of one of my aunts. And of course I used to dream I was Elvis’ daughter….I’m a gypsy at heart. I had a spirit that was completely outside what my family was.”
Declined By Reba
Faith Hill knew from an early age that she had a powerful voice, as she was a regular performer at area churches by the time she was a teenager. She took the initiative to form her own band, which added rodeos to their list of performance venues. When she was finally ready to bite the bullet and become a country singer, she moved straight to Nashville at the tender age of 19 and auditioned to sing with Reba. It would not be Faith’s lucky break.
Shattering Her World
Faith has kept fairly quiet about her first marriage to Daniel Hill, whom she met upon moving to Nashville. When she did finally open up about that marriage, she revealed that it was meeting her birth mother for the first time that shook her so deeply, she had to leave almost everything from her past behind, including Daniel. She said of the marriage, “I was going through so much. I was like a flower trying to bud. Marriage wasn’t what I needed. It was a disguise
In winter 2017, Faith and Tim did something they surprisingly had never done before. They got together and recorded a collaborative album. This was their first LP that they recorded together, which was titled “The Rest Of Our Life.” The album debuted on the Top Country Albums chart at number one! They expressed their gratitude, saying: “We are especially grateful for our amazing fans and the talented folks who worked on the album with us, we are blessed to get to do this and, even more so, together.”
Return To Tour
For a long while, Faith and Tim performed solo. However, in 2017, they made an announcement that many were happy to hear: they would be working together again for another Soul2Soul tour! Both McGraw and Hill were ecstatic to reunite and collaborate again. Tim praised Faith using an analogy to racing: “when I’m on stage with her, it’s like NASCAR trying to keep up with an Indy car. She’s just that good. So, to watch her sing and see what she does is pretty inspiring.”