Skip France, Try Belize! 8 Cheap Travel Destinations for Frugal Explorers
Ever wanted to explore new places, only to be stopped by the expense? Never fear! These cheap travel destinations will let you see the world without breaking the bank.
Why waste a wad of cash on the French Riviera when you can get the same sun and fun elsewhere for half the cost? Here are some cheap travel destinations — both domestic and international — that will satisfy your thirst for adventure without eating up your savings.
Cheap International Travel Destinations
1. For Unbeatable Scenery: Trade Iceland for the Azores
Iceland seems to be getting more popular by the minute, with discount airlines offering deals for travel from the East and West Coasts of the U.S. But on-the-ground costs — hotels, meals, transportation — in Iceland are still sky-high. If you’re looking for the dramatic landscapes, hot springs, and hiking opportunities that the country is famous for, the Azores — a group of islands in the North Atlantic, close to Portugal — won’t disappoint. Booked in advance, flights from the East Coast are comparable in cost with those to Iceland, and you can expect to pay a fraction of what you would otherwise for accommodations, food, car rentals, and activities.
2. For a European Beach Holiday: Trade the French Riviera for the Dalmatian Coast
The French Riviera may be the backdrop of countless movie classics, but there’s a rising celebrity seaside a few hundred miles east: Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. You may even recognize it as one of the primary filming locations for Game of Thrones.
The coast’s similar warm weather, bright blue seas, and fantastic local cuisine and wine make it hard to find a reason not to give Croatia a try.
Discount carriers offer cheap fares from major European airports to Split and Dubrovnik, so flights to either “Riviera” are comparable.
3. For a Lively Latin-American City: Trade Buenos Aires for Cartagena, Colombia
Buenos Aires may be the Paris of South America, but it’s certainly not the only South American city worth exploring. Want to practice your Spanish, dance till you drop, and cheer like mad alongside soccer “fanáticos”? Cartagena is well-known for its colonial architecture, its cobblestone streets, and some of the cheapest, most charming hotels in Latin America. Flights to Buenos Aires will drain your travel budget, but you can often fly to Cartagena for less than half the cost — and in half the time.
4. For That Elusive Balance of Adventure and Relaxation: Trade Costa Rica for Belize
It may be a classic summertime destination, but Costa Rica’s price tags won’t exactly leave you relaxed. Consider braving an afternoon shower or two and visiting Belize off-season — relatively inexpensive year-round, the country’s prices drop even further in the summer months. Belize offers loads of activities for the adventurous — water sports, jungle tours, snorkeling — plus all-inclusive resorts, yummy seafood, and plenty of piña coladas for much, much less.
Cheap Travel Destinations in the U.S.
1. For Urban Exploration on the East Coast: Trade New York City for Philadelphia
New York City may be one of the most iconic — and most visited — American cities, but it’s also one of the most expensive. For a similar combination of historical sites, world-class museums, and up-and-coming restaurants, head to Philadelphia. The city offers direct access to Newark Liberty International Airport, one of New York City’s hub airports, plus a major airport of its own. This one’s an easy choice, not to mention easy on the budget!
2. For Hiking With Hipsters: Trade San Francisco for Portland
San Francisco’s pleasant summer temperatures make it a popular getaway for the heat-averse among us, but the city’s sky-high prices are hard to stomach. Save a heap and head to Portland, Oregon, another West Coast city with mild weather and plenty of hipster charm.
Both destinations have thriving art scenes, unique neighborhoods to explore, and plenty of opportunities for nature-lovers.
Think day-trips to raft in the Columbia River Gorge or a hike up Mount Hood. But in Portland, you’ll spend a lot less on those food truck treats, boutique hotels, and craft breweries!
3. For Southern Fun in the Sun: Trade the Florida Coast for Mississippi’s Gulf Coast
Welcome to Miami? How about Mississippi! Florida’s beaches are world-famous, but all those high-season tourists mean beachside rentals aren’t cheap. Mississippi’s Gulf Coast offers cheaper accommodations, gorgeous white sand beaches, water sports, and Southern hospitality to boot. For a quick dose of urban exploration (and jazz, if you’re into it), fly to New Orleans and stay a night or two.
4. For an Easy East-Coast Getaway: Trade the Hamptons for the Jersey Shore
If your summer travel plans bring you to the East Coast, skip the overhyped Hamptons getaway (or the overcrowded Cape Cod) and try the Jersey Shore. Despite its less-than-stellar reputation, the Jersey Shore offers some beautiful, quiet beaches and ocean-view accommodations for a fraction of the cost. Getting there is a cinch — you can even use public transportation from Manhattan!