If you’re looking for an affordable place to travel in 2018, we’ve got the list for you. Experts are predicting that travel prices are on the rise this year, but it’s still possible to take a budget trip. Airfares are expected to increase by 3.5% and hotel prices are expected to increase by 3.7%. You actually might be surprised which cities made the list.
If you’re looking for an affordable and sun-soaked vacation, then you’re going to want to check out Portugal’s Algarve region. The city of Albufeira boasts a beautiful climate, fabulous beaches, inexpensive apartment-style hotels and a central location within the Algarve. There are over 100 different restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, and Albufeira even has a charming Old Town with traditional Portuguese streets and plazas within the city center. The prices for both food and wine are extremely reasonable; be sure to sample the wines of Portugal.
Zanzibar is actually more affordable than you might think. Not to mention, it’s incredibly beautiful. You can take the ferry from mainland Tanzania to Zanzibar for only $35 ($50 if you want a VIP seat), but flights to and from there are usually less than $100. You might be able to find an Airbnb for an extremely affordable price. I say might, just because that’s an option.
Okay, you may be thinking, “Isn’t Saint Martin/Sint Maarten destroyed?” Yes, this unique Caribbean island, which is half French (Saint Martin) and half Dutch (Sint Maarten), was devastated by Hurricane Irma. But now it’s on the mend. Saint Martin’s famed Princess Juliana International Airport has been open since late October 2017. The majority of the island’s electricity has been restored, and many beaches, bars, restaurants, and businesses have reopened their doors. Because tourists are still wary, many hotels have discounted rates (like Hotel Mercure for $169 night) as well as gorgeous Airbnb properties starting at $50 a night. It’s a win-win. Not only will you save money, but your money will be spent on businesses and people who really need our help.
Naples is one of the oldest cities on the European continent and filled to the brim with intriguing cultural sights and monuments from seaside castles and underground catacombs to show-stopping Baroque architecture and a ton of contemporary art. It also boasts one of Italy’s most cherished cuisines and is well-known as the birthplace of pizza, which you can enjoy for as little as €4 ($5), accompanied by views of the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius (free). Neapolitan pizza making has just been recognized by UNESCO as part of its Intangible World Heritage list, so now is a great time to visit and enjoy its effervescent energy and fabulous cuisine.
The Cook Islands
If you’re like me, you probably hadn’t considered the Cook Islands to be a vacation destination. However, made up of less than 15 islands less than 100 square miles the Cook Islands are everything you’d hope to find in the South Pacific. The islands are extremely beautiful and have some incredibly vibrant reefs. Its rich Maori culture is still very much intact and hospitality exudes through the friendly locals. Think: Hawaii half a century ago, but with 21st-century conveniences like WiFi. Take your pick on where to stay — you’ll find reasonably-priced luxury alongside Airbnbs, beach shacks alongside boutiques, all with a rustic, island-chic appeal.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
You thought you had to travel really far to get an incredible vacation. But, you might be surprised to find out that some options are right in your backyard. Santa Fe is a creative vortex that thrives at 7,200 feet, at the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, attracting artists and healers from around the world. It’s an ideal getaway for nature lovers, art enthusiasts, and spa seekers. Surrounded by natural beauty, the city’s roots go deep with a Native American, Hispanic and Anglo heritage. This year, the city is 407 years old and is the oldest capital city in the United States. It’s home to 250 restaurants, more than 300 art galleries, at least a hundred boutique shops and a dozen festivals and fairs.
Vancouver, British Columbia
he good news is, our neighbor to the north(west) has a favorable exchange rate of .80 cents to the U.S. dollar. So luxury hotels like the Fairmont Pacific Rim in the naturally stunning city of Vancouver are super affordable. The city is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada: 52% of its residents have a first language other than English. “Van” is literally set within a rainforest, so nature enthusiasts will love walking along the waterfronts with views of the nearby mountaintops.
When you think about affordable vacation destinations, I guarantee that you think of Thailand. And there’s a reason for that – you can’t beat the deals when it comes to traveling. Phuket is a beautiful beach spot that is famously known for nice people, affordable hotels, and amazing food. Low season is in the spring and winter. (Don’t go during summer because it will rain every day.) Once in Phuket, head to Patong beach at night: The nightlife is something to see, with loud music and constant entertainment.
Komodo Islands, Indonesia
If you’re looking for an amazing adventure that won’t break the bank, you should try the Komodo Islands. In fact, they have been named one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Most of the islands in Indonesia are incredibly undermined because of how popular Bali is, but Komodo and its surrounding islands are definitely worth a visit. As the name implies, Komodo is the native home of the terrifying mini-Godzillas known as Komodo Dragons. To see them, you go on an incredible boat tour that takes you to a tri-color beach island and swimming with wild manta rays. Getting to Komodo from Bali costs about $40 by boat or $200 for a flight, and accommodation and food is super cheap because, well, it’s Indonesia after all.