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The 43 Cheapest Places To Travel In 2020 – Forbes

Want to take a cheap vacation in 2020? Help is here. Although travel costs are on the rise this year—with experts predicting that airfares will increase by 1.5% and hotels rates will go up by 2 to 4%—it’s still possible to take an affordable trip in 2020, if you know where to go. Every year, I tap into the top travel experts and influencers to get their picks for the cheapest places to go in the year ahead. These women are savvy travelers who know how to see the world in an affordable way, whether that means heading to a budget destination or finding ways to save by sleuthing out cheap hotels, heading to bargain restaurants with amazing eats or finding the lowest prices by visiting during the low season. Here’s the best part: These travel pros have circled the globe and done all the work for you, so that you can save the most money on the best travel in 2020. Read on for the full list of the cheapest places to travel in 2020, and compare it to the most affordable destinations for 20192018 and 2017. And when you get there, send us a postcard from paradise.

Where: Bergamo, Italy

Chosen By: Nneya Richards has long been a fashion and travel maven, starting at 15-years-old as a founding contributing editor of TeenVOGUE magazine. She is also a travel and fashion consultant for publications like Vogue and Popsugar, as well as national television shows like CBS’s This Morning. Richards aims to empower people—especially young women of color—to travel, as she believes it is through exploring the world that we will bridge cultural gaps and misunderstandings. Keep up with her on her blog, ’N A Perfect World and her instagram @Nneya, where she’s also co-host of the weekly IGTV series, Two Aging Millennials.

Why: My partner is originally from Bergamo, where his family owns a third-generation knitwear company, Scaglione, so it’s pretty humorous that having spent a lot of time in Italy, previously, I—like many Americans—only knew the city for its airport. But Bergamo is in the midst of a discreet revitalization burgeoned by affordable airfare on carriers like EasyJet and RyanAir. For nearly 400 years, starting in the 15th century, Bergamo was a part of the Republic of Venice and a relief of the Venetian Winged Lion of St Mark still welcomes visitors at Bergamo’s old city gates. With winding cobblestone streets that open into piazzas and fresco laden palazzos—some still family owned—the city’s wealth is seen in its beautiful medieval architecture.

Smaller and more provincial than its neighbor Milan—40 minutes by car or train—Bergamo offers a competitive world-class art scene (the Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti hails from Bergamo). Bergamo has long attracted outdoors enthusiasts with walking trails surrounding the city and the Orobie Alps, a favorite ski destination. It’s Italy, so regional food is a must: Make sure to try the ravioli-like casoncelli, stuffed with ground beef or sausage, breadcrumbs and cheese, as well as the cheesy polenta taragna. Head to Trattoria La Colombiana for both of these specialties at around 10€ a plate for a heaping amount of food, nonna-style, a delicious local wine list with a generous pour and panoramic views all the way to Milan on a clear day. Afterwards, grab an aperitivo at Location58, where an artfully crafted cocktail costs around 7€.

For its size, Bergamo is home to a surprising amount of luxury hotels at very reasonable prices, like the Hotel Excelsior San Marco, with stunning views from its rooftop restaurant and rates under $100 per night. There are also great deals on short-term rentals through sites like Airbnb and Booking.com in both the Città Bassa and the Cittá Alta, or Upper City, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

READ MORE: “Quit Your Job And Live Abroad: 10 Places So Cheap You Might Be Able To Stop Working”

Where: Zanzibar 

Chosen By: Katie Jackson is a Montana-based travel writer whose work has been published by Travel & Leisure, USA TODAY, Fox News and The Sunday Times. Every trip she takes is an investment, and she likes to pay the rewards forward by helping other travelers. You can follow her adventures (and misadventures) on Instagram.

Why: It’s not even on the mainland, but still, this exotic escape in the Indian Ocean is the cheapest African destination, according to the 2019 Backpacker Index. A dorm bed, three budget meals, two public transportation rides, one paid cultural attraction and three cheap beers in Zanzibar City will only set you back about $25 a day. Of course, if you want to splurge for the kind of luxury that attracts celebrities like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas who vacationed here with their family this month, you can do that too. This year, a $1.6-billion luxury resort with an underwater nightclub is set to open.

In addition to its white sand beaches and world class snorkeling and diving opportunities, Zanzibar offers a unique mix of African and Indian cultures. The archipelago—there are more than 50 islands—is nicknamed the Spice Islands and played an important role in trade, especially in the 19th century. As with most island destinations, getting here isn’t a breeze. But that doesn’t mean the price tag isn’t doable. According to CheapFlights.com, the average fare from the U.S. to Zanzibar is just under $1,000, and if you book during a cheaper month, like March, you can find fares for under $700. 

READ MORE: “Where To Go Next: 27 Best Places To Travel In 2020”

Where: Cali, Colombia

Chosen By: Peggy Bree is a part-time digital nomad from Toronto. She and 20 amazing women have written a book called Branding Quickies, filled with insight and tips to help you grow your brand. It is written by copywriters, travel influencers, strategists, bloggers and more (some even in this article). You can find out more information here and follow along Peggy’s digital nomad journey on Instagram and her branding studio, Blank Room

Why: Though Medellin may have won the hearts of many, Cali has a particular charm about it too that will draw you in. Known as the Salsa Capital, it’s been testified by many that there are lots of fun and low-cost festivities to find and fall in love with. When I was there, I attended Feria de Cali, a once-a-year treat that transforms the streets into an extravagant night full of dancing and food. Even though Cali is ranked as one of the most dangerous places in the world, don’t let that stop you from checking out what this lively city has to offer. Take affordable salsa dancing classes, taste and indulge in the low-cost food tours and enjoy all the low-cost amenities. Uber is extremely cheap there, and the cost of living is low, too (think $200 for a fully furnished apartment). Also, if you’re looking for a three-day escape while you’re there, you can take a $7 bus to Armenia and then take a $10 taxi over to Salento, a beautiful and rustic town to explore. It is also near Cocora Valley, where you can take a hike to view the tallest palm trees in the world.

Where: Middleburg, Virginia

Chosen By: Lindsay Silberman is a magazine editor-turned-influencer who shares unfiltered advice about travel, beauty and style on her website and on Instagram. (Check out her list of the best things to do in Middleburg, Virginia here.)

Why: In the market for a luxe getaway without the luxe price tag? Look no further than Middleburg, Virginia. Known as America’s Horse and Hunt Country, the region—which is just 45 minutes from Washington, DC—is home to gorgeous wineries, a quaint downtown with great bars and restaurants and plenty of historic charm. Among Middleburg’s best wallet-friendly offerings? Spend an afternoon taking in the sweeping views at the family-owned Stone Tower Winery, where you can bring your own picnic and taste seven different local wines for just $20. Live music at the Red Horse Tavern in town is another must—it’s free and happens every Friday and Saturday night.

For affordable accommodations, book a room at one of the many charming B&Bs in the area, like The Ashby Inn, The Manor at Airmont and Airwell Bed & Breakfast. And be sure to take advantage of King Street Oyster Bar’s happy hour, where you’ll find $5 drinks and half-price oysters. Finally, you’d be remiss if you didn’t have a meal at the Red Fox Inn—or at least pop in for a peek. The tavern dates back to 1728, and Jackie O used to stay there during her fox hunting days. 

READ MORE: “US Travel: 25 Best Places To Visit In 2020”

Where: Oaxaca, Mexico

Chosen By: Susan Metenosky Ripley is the founder of Brooklyn Tropicali—a Latin America travel blog focused on creative travels for creative people—and contributing author to Branding Quickies. Brooklyn Tropicali is a blog encouraging creative professionals to learn from master artisans in Latin America and seek out meaningful cultural experiences during their travels.

Why: Oaxaca is a vibrant, cultural city full of amazing food, art, music, parades and some of the prettiest colorful façades you’ll ever find. It’s also a great place for budget travelers to stretch their money and still have world class experiences. Walk the picturesque streets in the historic center and detour to the adjoining neighborhoods of Xochimilco and Jalatlaco to see bold and intricate street murals. If it’s Sunday, head to any museum for free entry. (Other days, you’ll find the entrance fees to vary from free to less than $5.) You haven’t even spent any money yet! 

On Sundays, head to Tlacolula market, the bustling traditional market 45 minutes from the city center. Bus fare will cost you 10 pesos ($.53). You’ll find everything from fresh local fruit to steaming barbacoa (barbeque) tacos, live chickens, farm equipment, traditional textiles and everything in between. You can also pick up some of the best artisan work here, like ceramics for $1-2.

The most important thing to do in Oaxaca is eat. Eat the best tacos on the street at Lechoncito de Oro for $.75 each. Then head to the critically acclaimed Alfonsina to dine on a five-course tasting menu with drinks for $37. Finally, rest your head at the colorful hotel with a cause, Hotel con Corazon, starting at $67 or the beautifully designed boutique hotel, Casa Antonieta, starting at $136.

Where: Budapest

Chosen By: Stefanie Michaels, the CEO of AdventureGirl.com, is a TV personality, having appeared on every major network in the U.S. and with features in People and Time Magazines, to name a few. A Vanity Fair feature named Michaels “America’s Tweetheart” for being the first travel brand to reach over 1 million followers. Find her at @adventuregirl on all social platforms.

Why: Budapest is one of the most beautiful and picturesque cities in the world and as part of central Europe, a much more affordable option than the rest of the continent. Everything from hotels, Airbnbs, shopping and dining are all so inexpensive that your money will go far here. For example, a Budapest dinner cruise on the Danube will set one back $22 versus a Parisian Seine cruise at $80. Head to a Hungarian’s favorite pastime places in this “City of Baths”—the thermal baths, such as Rudas, Lukacs or the overwhelming neo-Baroque palace in Budapest’s City Park, Széchenyi bathhouse.

Where: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 

Chosen By: Debbie Arcangeles is a remote entrepreneur and the host of The Offbeat Life, a podcast where she interviews individuals who are location independent and digital nomads. She aims to encourage others to follow their true calling and take a chance on themselves. Debbie is also the author of “How to Create a Profitable Podcast,” where she shares how others can launch, grow and take their podcast from hobby to profitable business. Follow her on Instagram @theoffbeatlife.

Why: If you think the Dominican Republic is only great for its beach resorts, then you are missing out on one of the most beautiful and oldest cities in the Americas: Santo Domingo. The home of the first cathedral, castle, university, monastery and fortress in the new world, you will have plenty to explore in this culturally rich city. If you are on a budget, then Santo Domingo is the place to be. Entry to most museums is less than $2 and you can visit local joints like Villar Hermanos and La Fabrica Contemporanea to get the best Latin dishes that will cost between $3-$10 per person. Just because you are on a budget does not mean you can’t travel in style. Stay at the Boutique Hotel Palacio and sleep in the most luxurious rooms. The best part is that breakfast and Wifi are included and it has a beautiful pool you can relax in after a day of exploration. This hotel is also walking distance to most of the attractions, and, if you decide to rent a car, it includes parking for free.

Where: Madagascar

Chosen By: Andrea Feczko is a travel influencer and TV Host – ABC’s “Vacation Creation,” HLN’s “Vacation Chasers” and TV Land’s “100 Best Places.” She has been to over 70 countries, lived in five and documents her travels and insights on Instagram and Youtube @AndreaFeczko. Follow the ride—it’s quite an epic one.

Why: Want an off-the-beaten path (or any path, that is) type of vacation that, chances are, none of your friends or colleagues have been to before? That is definitely Madagascar. You may know it from the animated film (what’s up King Julien!), but in real life, it’s like going back in time—for better or for worse. Madagascar is the fourth largest island on the planet, has over 20 million residents—making it more populated than Australia—and took humans 300,000 years to discover. Thus, it is teeming with wildlife and nature that cannot be seen anywhere else on the planet. Despite such incredible natural resources, it is one of the poorest countries in the world. The average meal will cost an American around $5-$10, depending on alcoholic beverages, and five-star stays start at $25 a night.

What to do? Check out the Isalo National Park with its incredible rock formations and lemurs (yes, the real-life King Julien!), go to the Baobab Forest and most definitely make the unique journey to Mikea Lodge on Madagascar’s western coast. There, you can spend a night in the baobabs, have zebus greet you in pristine waters and, most importantly, meet local Mikea people, some of the last known true hunters and gatherers on the planet. I highly recommend using a tour company in Madagascar as there are many regions that are unsafe to go to without a guide and cell service is spotty at best. We used Wau Madagascar and had an excellent time.

Where: Chengdu, Sichuan, China

Chosen By: Kay is a travel blogger who is focused on making travel more relatable, inclusive and accessible to those wanting to travel. Along with hilarious tourist tales and travel guides, her posts on TheAwkwardTraveller.com offer travel tips for communities who are frequently under-served in the travel community, with articles focusing on traveling with chronic illnesses, wheelchair users and those that are hard of sight or hearing. Kay also uplifts local voices in interviews about their culture so that the audience may gain a deeper understanding of the region from a local’s perspective.

Why: Chengdu, China, is known for three main things: pandas, spicy food and technology. But it is also a hidden gem for budget destinations. Located in the Sichuan province, Chengdu is the eighth largest city in China but it should be at the top of everyone’s travel list. Hotels in Chengdu—and China in general—are extremely affordable, but it is highly recommended to pick a hotel close to a subway station, such as San Dao Li Cando Hotel (which is about $80 a night), as the city is so big that walking across town is nearly impossible. But on that note, the public transportation is some of the cheapest in the world, very easy to use and color coded so you won’t get lost. But hands down, the best thing to do in Chengdu also happens to be the cheapest: eating. Plop down at any food stall, point to a random dish and prepare to be amazed at the dishes presented before you. Sichuan cuisine is world-renowned, and Chengdu is awarded every year with the title of “Top Gastronomy Destination.” And in a city where you can get a full meal for under $10, that’s a bargain.

Where: The Island of Hawai’i

Chosen By: Sarah Funk is a travel host and video producer who runs SarahFunky.com and a YouTube channel, both are dedicated to travel and New York City. She is frequently seen on Travel + Leisure’s Instagram showing viewers unique destinations around the world.

Why: The Island of Hawai’i is the ultimate paradise destination. I’ve been there over 15 times and still don’t get bored. Its warm tropical breeze, beautiful beaches, powerful volcanos and delicious local cuisine will make this vacation spot a dream. Stay at the The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls for as little as $169 per night. There you’ll have access to a private waterfall right outside your window where you can do various adventure sports like waterfall rappelling or paddle boarding. My favorite budget activity to do on the island is visit the many free public beaches with great snorkeling such as the Mauna Kea Beach, which is on the Travel Channel’s “world’s all-time best beaches” list. Watch the Island of Hawai’I travel guide to learn more about this vacation spot.

Where: Mexico City 

Chosen By: Kaitlin Orr (@carnivorr) and Anders Husa (@andershusa) are a food and travel blogging couple with well-stamped passports and an appetite for adventure. Their blog has won multiple awards and is a leading source of information on both the Nordic and international dining scene. They eat at the best restaurants from Oslo to Los Angeles and everywhere in between, creating city maps on their website and videos on their YouTube channel.

Why: We traveled to 16 countries last year, and Mexico City was one of our absolute favorite destinations. It’s extremely affordable—our 30-minute Uber ride from the airport cost us a mere $6, and the Airbnb prices are unbelievable. We stayed right in the heart of the trendy Roma neighborhood, and had a gorgeous apartment to ourselves for a week for only $300. Of course, we stuffed our faces with countless tacos (typically around $1 each)—but you don’t have to limit yourself to street food if you’re traveling on a budget here. Indulge in a meal at two of the world’s best restaurants (Pujol and Quintonil), where a tasting menu is around $100 per person—unheard of for restaurants of this caliber, which typically cost four times this price.

Where: Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina

Chosen By: Becca Ingle is an avid family travel blogger. She is the founder of BeccaIngle.com, where you can read all her travel guides. Follow her on Instagram to see behind the scenes of each trip (@Beccaingle).

Why: Ocean Isle Beach is a small town just north of the South Carolina border that’s surrounded by beautiful palm trees and located an easy 45-minute drive from the Wilmington Airport. (You can also fly directly into Ocean Isle’s small airport.) You will soon find everything costs less in the south. Stay at an a-frame three-bedroom rental or book an adorable home on the water. Hop on a boat and venture out to the local islands, where you can pack a cooler and enjoy your own private beach all day. Dine on the water at Sharky’s, where you can grab a burger and fries for just $7. Ocean Isle Beach has free parking along the beach, and you can fish the pier for a mere $1 entry fee. 

Take the kids to play 18 holes of putt putt at River Country Mini Golf for less than $10 a person—children under 3 play free. Or do some serious golfing at the Brick Landing Golf Course, where you can play a round for less than $50. If you’re looking for a destination wedding, venues are also very affordable and Upstaged Wilmington specializes in event décor on a budget. The town is also building a new amphitheater where free live concerts will be held every Friday starting Memorial Weekend to Labor Day. This same area located at the end of Laurinburg Street will also have a free splash park for kids and a new playground available by this summer. If you’re looking to invest in property or simply move to the area for affordable living, reach out to Baxter Cheek, an Ocean Isle native who can find houses on the market as low as $350k on the waterway.

Where: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Chosen By: Amanda Mactas is an editor at BELLA Magazine and freelance writer based in New York City. Her work has been featured in PureWow, Wine4Food and The Daily Meal, and she also runs a lifestyle blog, Manhattan with a Twist. You can follow her travels at @ManhattanTwist.

Why: Temples, temples and more temples. Home of the UNESCO World Heritage Angkor temples, which are comprised of the Temple of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm and Bayon Temple, Siem Reap is the proud home of these awe-inspiring feats of art and architecture, which were built back in the 12th century. (You might recognize them from the blockbuster movie Tomb Raider.) A three-day pass to explore the temples costs just $62 and is well worth every penny. And while the Angkor temples account for over half of the tourists who come to visit Cambodia each year, there’s plenty more to discover here. The five-star Sokha Angkor Resort has rooms starting at $86 a night, while the modern and newly opened FCC Angkor Resort by Avani has rooms beginning at $135. Explore the Old Market, also known as “Psar Chaa,” where you can experience locals selling everything from fruits and grains to dried fish and meats or stop by Pub Street come nighttime, where travelers flock for clubs, bars and food. While traveling to a new destination, it’s always important to learn about the country’s culture and history, so stop by the Cambodia Landmine Museum for a sobering and educational look into Cambodia’s past (tickets are $5 for adults and free for children).

Where: Sonoma, California

Chosen By: Blakely Trettenero is the owner of the popular travel website Hungry for Travels, a freelance travel writer and a social media contributor. With traveling to over 45 countries, her travels range from ultra-luxury to off-the-beaten-path locations.

Why: There’s nothing to whine about when visiting wine country. Sonoma often gets overshadowed by neighboring Napa and unrightfully so. This gorgeous county has everything Napa offers—and for less. Award-winning wine, a quaint historic square, lush landscaping and a remarkable food scene await you. Rent a bike for the day (average $36 per day) and cruise into Sonoma square. Through flower lined alleyways you will find plenty of charming tasting rooms of surrounding local wineries. Visiting tasting rooms in the square is a fantastic, and less expensive, alternative to visiting the winery—mostly because you can order a single glass instead of a full tasting. If you’re looking for a full wine tasting and a divine garden-grown lunch in a stylishly restored hacienda, then Scribe Winery ($70 for a wine tasting and lunch) is your place. Want a full day of fun? Hire Bohemian Highway ($165 per person for six hours) to pick you up in their restored 1987 Land Rover Defender to take you to off the beaten path wineries that aren’t open to the public. You’ll spend the day touring scenic wineries, having a gorgeous lunch and making new friends. Not a wine drinker? No problem. Sonoma may be a wine lover’s paradise, but aside from its award-winning bottles, Sonoma has 50+ regional parks to discover (average $7 for parking). Pack a picnic and go explore this gorgeous area. For dinner, a must is Layla (average $27 an entrée) in recently renovated, and stunning, MacArthur Place Hotel.

Where: Nice, France

Chosen By: Darley Newman is the award-winning TV host, writer and producer of “Travels with Darley” and “Equitrekking” on PBS, Amazon Prime and Verizon Digital. Her adventurous travels inspire viewers to get out of their comfort zone with recent challenges including the swimming with sharks in Dubai and the world’s highest commercial bungee in China. Follow her @darleynewman.

Why: Nice, France, may sound too posh for budget-friendly travelers, but travel experts know where to find deals amid the sun, sand and European architecture of this Cote d’Azur city, where French and Italian influences combine for a tasty trip. Strolling by the beach along the Promenade des Anglais to watch the locals take their morning swim won’t cost you a thing. Neither will meandering through Cours Saleya, one of Europe’s best markets, where vintage jewelry, clothing, art and fresh flowers and fruits combine for a feast for the senses. Grab a street food snack of socca, an inexpensive chickpea flatbread that’s a savory local specialty and a must-try in this part of France. Take on the streets of Nice’s Old Town on foot or by bicycle. Ebike Riviera Tour rents city bikes and electronic bikes starting at around $12 an hour, making taking on the hills of Old Town easy and fun. Dine on authentic home cooked cuisine at Restaurant Acchiardo, a family-owned mainstay in Nice. Here, traditional salad Nicoise combines with fresh seafood and seasonal entrees accented with fresh herbs de Provence. Stay at boutique Hotel Windsor, within walking distance of the city’s main attractions and where rooms during the off season can start at less than $100. Each room of this hotel is individually decorated with changing art exhibitions throughout the property. 

Where: Da Nang, Vietnam 

Chosen By: Katie Jackson is a Montana-based travel writer whose work has been published by Travel & Leisure, USA TODAY, Fox News and The Sunday Times. Every trip she takes is an investment, and she likes to pay the rewards forward by helping other travelers. You can follow her adventures (and misadventures) on Instagram.

Why: Prior to last year when The New York Times included it on its list of 52 places to go in 2019, Da Nang was best known for being where the first American combat troops landed in Vietnam. Fast forward almost 55 years and today, this city of 1.2 million on the South China Sea is a promising vacation destination boating some of Southeast Asia’s cleanest beaches, mountains (home to the world’s longest cable-car ride), luxury resorts (including Vietnam’s most Instagrammable resort) and well-preserved history.

Hoi An Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is just a 30-minute drive to the south. But the best part about Da Nang is how far your dollar goes. I visited in November and stayed at Sala Da Nang Beach Hotel—a four-star “spa hotel” a stone’s throw from the beach—for just $50/night. That left me with plenty of spending money to enjoy $16 facials and dinners out—at restaurants, not on the street—for $5. I even splurged on a private taxi to Ba Na Hills, Da Nang’s French mountaintop resort. The ride, in a newer vehicle with air conditioning, took nearly an hour. Still, my fare was just $13. A 15-minute shared Uber ride in Manhattan can cost more than that. Finally, as with the rest of Vietnam, it’s a great place to buy suits that would cost at least a day’s worth of wages at home. In Da Nang you can get a custom tailor-made suit for just $30. At that price, why not get two? 

Where: Prince Edward Island

Chosen By: Natalie DiScala is a writer and editor at JohnnyJet.com, covering travel trends, products and family travel. 

Why: The strong U.S. dollar makes travel to Canada very appealing. At the time of publication, $1 U.S. is equal to $1.29 CA. And no matter which part of the country you’re traveling to, you can save even more money by redeeming airline miles for your flights. In some cases, you can even book award flights for under 7,500 miles each way. When you think of travel to Canada, chances are the big cities come to mind first: Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. And while each of those urban centers have so much to offer, Canada’s cultural and geographic diversity means that there’s so much to discover, coast to coast.

Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island, is a favorite destination for so many reasons. The landscape is breathtaking, from island’s fertile, deep red soil to the sweeping ocean views. If you’re into outdoor activities, PEI delivers, offering lots of options for cycling, sailing and horseback riding. While you’re there, you’ll want to enjoy the island’s greatest local fare: shellfish. Indulge in fresh lobster, scallops, oysters and mussels and don’t forget to try the famous PEI potatoes. A visit to Prince Edward Island isn’t complete without a stop at Green Gables, home of Canada’s most beloved heroine, Anne Shirley. Written by Lucy Maud Montgomery in 1908, Anne of Green Gables is still a huge draw and visitors can see the site that inspired the novel in Cavendish in Prince Edward Island National Park.

Where: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Chosen By: Susan Portnoy is an award-winning travel photographer, freelance travel writer and the editor of The Insatiable Traveler. You can see her work in Newsweek, Travel Weekly, USA Today and Adventure.com, among others. Follow her on Instagram @insatiabletraveler

Why: One hundred seventy miles from Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende, is the affordable escape discerning travelers crave. Steeped in local culture, it has a vibrant art scene and foodie-friendly cuisine surrounded by colorful 16th-century colonial architecture—not to mention, a Dias de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration rivaling New Year’s Eve in Times Square. La Colmena, an old bakery specializing in traditional recipes and baking techniques, is a must. Fret not: You’re guaranteed to walk off your oven-fresh carbs while exploring the city’s steep cobblestone streets. (Pack comfortable shoes!)

In the heart of the city is the Main Square and the renowned pink Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel. Food carts in and around the plaza are safe, inexpensive and tasty. For a sit-down meal try Los Milagros, an airy cantina with live music and the best enchilada I’ve ever eaten. Afterward, unpack at the eclectic Casa Hoyos, a new boutique art hotel with a rooftop bar sporting a loungy vibe and panoramic views. On Monday nights in the summer, The Santa Fe Photographic Workshops’ world-class photographers and writers discuss their work for free at Bellas Artes. Every Tuesday, La Placita, a massive market on the edge of town (a $5 taxi), hosts hundreds of local vendors selling everything under the sun. If you’re keen on the indigenous culture, visit the Mask Museum, where an exceptional collection of nearly 500 Mexican ceremonial masks will amaze you.

Where: Curaçao

Chosen By: Carey Reilly is a lifestyle and travel expert. She writes for Family Traveller magazine, Today.com and Reader’s Digest. She appears regularly on Fox and Friends, Cavuto Live and Cheddar. Follow her @CareyReilly on Instagram.

Why: You may have heard of Aruba but have you heard of its lesser known neighbor, Curaçao? The Dutch Island is a part of the ABC islands (with Aruba and Bonaire) and sits about 40 miles off the coast of Venezuela. It sports beautiful white-sand beaches, snorkeling coves, waterfront Dutch buildings and is a great option for budget travelers. There is so much to be seen on the island without even spending a dime. A must-see for every visitor is to go sightseeing and shopping in Willemstad, the capital city. You can spend days exploring the rich history and checking out the floating Queen Emma bridge from 1888. Be sure to take a bunch of selfies in front of the candy-colored buildings that make this city super Instagrammable. Hike along the coast in the Sheke Boca National Park and be on the lookout for three different kinds of sea turtles. Bring your snorkeling gear and get ready for incredible underwater views—among the best in the world.

There are also plenty of places to stay spanning all budgets. One of my favorites is the Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort located on a 27-acres natural preserve. This luxury resort has some rooms under $200 and offers a lot of free activities including an tour where you can feed iguanas in the trees. (At press time, the hotel is also offering a fourth night free, free breakfast daily for two and a $100 resort credit.) If you are a foodie, check out the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort, which has eight different restaurants and is currently offering a Culinary Delights package that gives hotel guests $150 toward food and beverage. Curaçao embodies the meaning of the popular Papiamentu saying on the island—when something is great, it’s “Super Dushi.” 

Where: Madhya Pradesh, India

Chosen By: Karen Loftus is a luxury travel and lifestyle writer. She’s been to 75 countries and all seven continents. Her stories and photos have appeared on Vogue, Architectural Digest and Robb Report, among others. Karen is also the Adventuress in Chief of Women’s Adventure Travels, an all-women travel company that inspires women to empower themselves and those around them through travel.

Why: In the heart of India, this landlocked state may not be as well known as the Golden Triangle, but after its great success with the conservation of the Royal Bengal Tiger, it is quickly becoming the “Tiger State of India.” Wildlife lovers are converging here to capture a glimpse of the tiger for a fraction of the price of a typical African safari. The tiger is also far more elusive than the African lion, which makes the sightings hard-won and incredibly exciting.

Kick off a tiger safari at Pench Tree Lodge right outside of Pench National Park, which was made famous by the iconic Jungle Book in 1894. After a morning safari, you can cycle through the Seoni forest. Finish that off with a spin into Khamba Village, where the only traffic you see is cows and goats. For more tigers and bears and boars, head to Satpura, another national park. Stay along the river at Denwa Backwater Escape. Safari stays at either of the lodges will cost you no more than $200.

Urban explorers and architectural buffs will love Madhya Pradesh’s capital city of Bhopal, known as the City of Lakes. The Taj-ul-Masajid, with 18-story high octagonal minarets, is the largest mosque in India and one of the largest in Asia. The Gauhur Mahal is a 200-year-old Indo-Islamic palace built on the banks of the Upper Lake in Bhopal. It’s fallen into disrepair but no less majestic. For a chic sleep, head to the luxe Jehan Numa Palace. Its British colonial architecture is reminiscent of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore for a fraction of the price. The best benefit is getting two weeks’ worth of clothes cleaned for the cost of a Singapore Sling.

Where: Irish Countryside

Chosen By: Melissa Klurman is a travel expert, writer and editor and contributor at Reader’s Digest, Frommer’s Travel Guides and Parents, among other publications.

Why: Irish eyes will definitely be smiling on your budget travels if you head to the emerald countryside of this friendly island. While Dublin is a bit pricey when it comes to lodging and meals (although you do catch a break on national museums, which are always free), the rolling green hills offer not only spectacular scenery, but great bargains, too. Head south to Killarney, where it’s free to drive the 120 miles of magnificent scenery of the iconic Ring of Kerry and also free to visit the walker’s paradise of Killarney National Park. Spend the night in the five-star Great Killarney Hotel for around $120 a night, which includes a heaving breakfast buffet with an overflowing scone and clotted cream table (worth the trip alone!).

Head further west for smaller B&Bs and even better deals, with charming rooms in the $60 range and affordable small pubs and restaurants that offers not only great food, but a warm welcome to visitors, too. Aer Lingus is offering a particularly budget-friendly deal for 2020: A Villa Vacation for four including round-trip airfare to Shannon, six nights in a three-bedroom villa in Adare, a rental car for your entire stay and admission to the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher and family-friendly Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, all starting at $940 per person. 

Where: Eugene, Oregon

Chosen By: Erin Lynch is the recipe creator and food photographer behind the popular food and wine blog, Platings & Pairings. She has traveled the world visiting the most beautiful wineries and sampling the specialities of those regions. Always in search of the next great wine pairing, follow along with her via Instagram (@platingsandpairings). 

Why: Don’t skip over this laid-back campus town. With so many gorgeous wineries just a short drive away, Eugene has plenty to offer. Be sure to check out King Estate for lunch or dinner. In the summertime, enjoy the beautiful view from its expansive patio. Or, in the winter, hunker down by the fireplace while sampling the amazing wines and oysters. If you’d like to stay closer to town, you won’t be missing out. A great home base is Inn at the 5th. This beautiful hotel is located right in the heart of the city. With fireplaces in each room and a menu offering up your choice of Pendleton blankets to enjoy during your stay, it’s the ultimate cozy retreat. While there, be sure to check out Gervais for spa treatments, pop into Marche for an amazing breakfast, lunch or dinner and then do some shopping at 5th Street Public Market. With so many unique shops, you’re guaranteed to go home with something you love. Then, enjoy a wine tour about town. There are several tasting rooms all within walking distance, so you can immerse yourself in the best wines of the Pacific Northwest. Options include Provisions Wine Shop, Sweet Cheeks Winery, Capitello Wines, Tap and Growler, Oregon Wine LAB and the soon-to-open J. Scott Cellars.

Where: West Paris

Chosen By: Diana Ostrom is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Outside, Travel + Leisure, Afar and other outlets. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter

Why: There’s nowhere I’d rather be on a Sunday morning in Paris than at the Vanves flea market, in this leafy corner of the 14th arrondissement. Vanves is a lowkey counterpoint to the more famous—and, some would argue, overpriced and oversubscribed—markets at Clignancourt, almost directly opposite on the city’s northern border. The prices here aren’t bargain basement—for that, look for the weekly vide greniers that pop up along the city’s streets, which offer the odd treasure among the used baby clothes and five-year-old mixers—and the crowds are noticeably bigger, and more international, than they were a few years ago. For reliably excellent souvenirs, though—vintage oil paintings, rustic enamelware, the odd Chanel jacket—it’s a must. I like to start at the eastern edge, near the Porte de Vanves metro, and work my way west, ending with a glazed brioche suisse at the Aux Delices du Palais bakery (60 Blvd Brune). 

If it’s nice outside, I might enjoy that pastry on a bench at the nearby Georges-Brassens park, just across the border of the 15th arrondissement—in April, it’s an astoundingly pretty place. Note the vineyard and the two sculptures of bulls at the park’s entrance, which nod to the site’s former use as a slaughterhouse. Along the western edge is an excellent antique book market, held on weekends in a pretty 19th-century pavilion. All this is within 10 minutes’ walk of the new Mama Shelter Paris West—a friendly, cool home base that’s perfectly situated for a languorous and uniquely Parisian experience. 

Where: Copper Mountain, Colorado

Chosen By: Marlise Kast-Myers is a travel journalist and author of 20+ Fodor’s guidebooks, plus Day & Overnight Hikes on The Pacific Crest Trail and her memoir, Tabloid Prodigy. When not gaining air miles, Kast-Myers can be found restoring the historic Betty Crocker Estate in San Diego County where she and her husband run Brick n Barn, their antique shop and monthly venue. Her hilarious adventures are chronicled in her blog, Channeling Betty

Why: Located 75 miles west of Denver, Copper Mountain is at the pulse of the Rocky Mountains, with seven ski resorts within a 30-minute drive. What sets this winter playground apart is that it’s substantially more affordable than its competitors. A Copper Mountain lift ticket will set you back $140 versus neighboring slopes burning a hole in your pocket at $200. For those dolla-dolla-bills y’all get 142 trails spanning 2,490 acres, with a summit elevation of 12,441 feet. When not dropping into back bowls, you can hop aboard the free (not a typo) Tucker Mountain Snowcat that unveils 273 acres and 12,000 vertical feet of backcountry access. There’s plenty of powder to go around.

Did someone say, “beer money?!” Take your pick from 19 bars and restaurants boasting daily happy hour specials, including Mulligans Irish Pub, Downhill Dukes, Ten Mile Tavern, Incline Bar, JJ’s Tavern and On The Rockies Whiskey Bar. Don’t panic about the cost of a hotel, because there aren’t any—at least for now. Void of hotels and chain resorts until fall 2020, Copper Mountain’s pillow is a massive network of condo complexes just steps from the lifts. Airbnb reigns here. 

Between the family-friendly West Village and the U.S. Speed Center East Village, the Center Village is where you can stay entertained without spending a dime. Think free transportation, concerts, ice-skating and other seasonal activities. A $60 summer Day Pass will grant the little ones access to bungee jumps, zip lines, go-carts, mini-golf, climbing walls and lake activities. Ironically, even while you don’t spend, Copper Mountain will be your sugar daddy by dropping $40 million in new chairlifts and dog-friendly patios. Best of all, Copper Mountain is humble, understated and what some might consider to be Colorado’s best-kept secret.  

Where: Louisville, Kentucky

Chosen By: Meg James is the founder of Trekking Twice, a Faith and Family Travel Blog, and Go and Do Good, a hotel directory featuring hotel accommodations around the world that give back to others. James grew up traveling with her parents to Europe and Asia and has now extended her love for travel to her little family. You can trek alongside her on her blog and social media channels.

Why: Louisville provides museums, tours, eateries and culture, all in a day’s time. Hop on a Bird, the electronic scooters offered all around the downtown area, and soar as you explore everything that the Derby City has to offer. Yet, the very best part of visiting Louisville is knowing you can do so on a budget. Many memorable experiences in Louisville have no cost: Consider taking a free Downtown Walking Tour through the Louisville Visitor Center or enjoy a ride on the LouLift, a free city bus, that takes you anywhere from Whiskey Row to iconic Churchill Downs. Enjoy a sunny afternoon walk on the Big Four Bridge and impress your friends how you can be in two states at one time: Kentucky and Indiana.

For as low as $13.50, enjoy access to the Kentucky Derby Museum, where you can experience a tour of the Racetrack and view “The Greatest Race,” a media experience that will make your heart race. Looking to try your luck somewhere else? You can visit six popular Museum Row attractions for only $46. By purchasing The Main Ticket, you can hit one out of the park by visiting Louisville Slugger Museum or taste some notes at Evan Williams Bourbon Experience. After all of that whiskey tasting, it’s clearly time for a snack break. Consider Please and Thank You, a small-batch Southern bakery and coffee shop house, where you can score its famous chocolate chip cookie for $2.25. While an overnight stay may feel like a splurge at the iconic The Brown Hotel, you haven’t been to Louisville until you swing in for a Hot Brown. This open-faced sandwich of turkey and bacon smothered in Mornay sauce baked to perfection is a good enough reason to return to Louisville again soon. You can bet on that.

Where: Guadeloupe

Chosen By: Nneya Richards has long been a fashion and travel maven, starting at 15-years-old as a founding contributing editor of TeenVOGUE magazine. She is also a travel and fashion consultant for publications like Vogue and Popsugar, as well as national television shows like CBS’s This Morning. Richards aims to empower people—especially young women of color—to travel, as she believes it is through exploring the world that we will bridge cultural gaps and misunderstandings. Keep up with her on her blog, ’N A Perfect World and her instagram @Nneya, where she’s also co-host of the weekly IGTV series, Two Aging Millennials.

Why: Have you ever been torn, wanting to head to Paris for the cultural trip and French je ne sais quoi, but you’re long overdue for a beach vacation? Guadeloupe is your best bet. In the past few years, the island has been growing in popularity with millennials and nature-adventure seekers. And with airlines like JetBlue adding routes, we have a feeling that Guadeloupe is definitely going to have its moment. Go before the prices change, though. Shaped like a beautiful butterfly, the verdant island has long been arguably one of the most affordable islands in the French West Indies in terms of accommodations, activities and food and drink. A stay at beachfront property, La Creole Beach Hotel and Spa can be as low as $135 a night during high season.

And that cultural aspect you were craving? Guadeloupe has a rich history, making its culture a blend of Afro-Caribbean and French. Guadeloupe encourages visitors of all backgrounds to explore its preserved history, such as the slave steps in Petit Canal and the preserved slave market—the first entry point after Africa for many of the slaves in the Caribbean and their last sight of the shore. The very modern Memorial ACTe museum is world renowned. The Memorial ACTe museum is even part of UNESCO’s Slave Route Project, a global initiative to promote the rapprochement of people through the shared tragic legacy of slavery. Another can’t-miss stop in Guadeloupe is Morne l’Eau cemetery. Yup! You read correctly. This colorful, beautiful and even Instagrammable cemetery makes you reimagine how you might want to send off your loved ones. Head there on All Saints Day for a lively party at dusk with candlelight, vendors selling snacks and a true celebration. The educational beach vacation. Parfait? No?

Where: Cook Islands

Chosen By: Stefanie Michaels, the CEO of AdventureGirl.com, is a TV personality, having appeared on every major network in the U.S. and with features in People and Time Magazines, to name a few. A Vanity Fair feature named Michaels “America’s Tweetheart” for being the first travel brand to reach over 1 million followers. Find her at @adventuregirl on all social platforms.

Why: The Cook Islands, compared to Fiji and famously overpriced Tahiti, give value in the area known as Oceana. Coveted by Kiwis (New Zealanders) and Aussies (Australians), this tiny grouping of islands has been one of their main holiday spots. Gin-colored waters, white powdery sand beaches, fresh seafood, lovely locals who can’t do enough for travelers and varied accommodations to suit solo travelers, honeymooners and families make this the best option for beach-seekers west of Hawaii.

Where: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Chosen By: Becca Ingle is an avid family travel blogger. She is the founder of BeccaIngle.com, where you can read all her travel guides. Follow her on Instagram to see behind the scenes of each trip (@Beccaingle).

Why: The Dominican Republic is known for its beautiful waters and all-inclusive resort options, especially in Punta Cana. If you book on Cheap Caribbean you can find deals as low as $800 per person including airfare for four nights at luxury all-inclusive resorts. The Now Larimar is one of the newly renovated all-inclusive resorts that does not charge for any children staying with you. The resort has 10+ restaurants to choose from, swim up bars and unlimited use of non-motorized watersports on the beach. If you don’t want to worry about paying a babysitter, drop the kids off anytime 9am-9pm at the resort’s Kid Explorer’s club for a day filled of fun. If entire rentals are more your scene, you can stay at Guesthouse Caribe for as low as $45 a night.

Explore some of the best natural wonders of the island, including the Hoyo Azul and Isla Saona. (Tip: Make sure to go early to Hoyo Azul to avoid the crowds.) It is also important to eat locally when on a budget, and I recommend stopping by Comedor Anny and opt for eating what Dominicans call “the flag,” the traditional dish of rice, beans and meat salad or tostones. There are two local supermarkets, Los Corales and Bam Market, where you can find all the food you need if you’re able to cook for a decent price. Another tip: Make sure to stock up on $1 water bottles since you do not want to drink the local tap water. Taxi prices vary around the island, but you can always negotiate the price down.

Where: Tampa, Florida

Chosen By: Sarah Funk is a travel host and video producer who runs SarahFunky.com and a YouTube channel, both are dedicated to travel and New York City. She is frequently seen on Travel + Leisure’s Instagram showing viewers unique destinations around the world.

Why: Tampa is known for its Gulf Coast beaches, world-class theme parks and tropical weather. To get the best prices visit in spring or summer. Tampa is a great family destination because of its free public beaches and Busch Gardens. Buy the unlimited visits pass for spring and summer for $94 and you can visit as much as you want. I particularly loved feeding the giraffes on the safari! Walk throughout Ybor City during your stay and learn all about Cuban culture, plus see cigars being made for free! If you’re a craft brewing lover, you’ll be in heaven here because there are 16 different breweries in Tampa. Watch the Tampa travel guide to learn more about this travel destination.

Where: Etruscan Coast, Italy

Chosen By: Karen Loftus is a luxury travel and lifestyle writer. She’s been to 75 countries and all seven continents. Her stories and photos have appeared on Vogue, Architectural Digest and Robb Report, among others. Karen is also the Adventuress in Chief of Women’s Adventure Travels, an all-women travel company that inspires women to empower themselves and those around them through travel.

Why: It’s hard to imagine that there is more to Tuscany than rolling hills, vineyards and little villages. Yet, there is a whole other side on the Etruscan Coast. The ancient village of Castiglioncello—made famous by Italian cinema stars years ago—is an excellent intro to this area. The Cardellino Wine Bar and the Astragalo Club offer great views to soak in the rugged and stunning coastline. An overnight in the Agriturismo San Marco in Rosignano Marittimo is more rustic than chic, but the organic foods and wines are sublime and the conviviality makes it amazing. 

A morning wine tasting at Grattamacco Estate gives you the classic Tuscan experience you may be craving. Follow that with lunch at the stunning Relais Casale del Mare and an e-bike tour. Cycling alongside the beach, through Tomboli di Cecina Nature Reserve—which feels like an enchanted forest—and the iconic Boulevard of Cypresses can’t be beaten, though dinner at Locanda dell’Aioncino comes close to doing so.

Finish off a visit to the region in the medieval village of Campiglia. Civico Uno and Borgo agli Scudi are two boutique hotels there that are more like staying with your favorite family members. They also provide endless ways to explore, be it by bike or on a hike to make up for the many overindulgences. Navigating your way around the stony village alone will provide quite the workout as well. You can relax those muscles after in the traditional Etruscan baths at nearby Calidario, where floating bottles of bubbles aren’t unlikely.

Capping off the day and the trip with dinner at Locanda Il Canovaccio or Il Goccetto is what dining out should be, yet rarely is. The fresh food, local wines, evocative ambiance, and genuine local warmth and hospitality are pure perfection.

Where: Guanajuato City, Guanajuato, Mexico 

Chosen By: Kay is a travel blogger who is focused on making travel more relatable, inclusive and accessible to those wanting to travel. Along with hilarious tourist tales and travel guides, her posts on TheAwkwardTraveller.com offer travel tips for communities who are frequently under-served in the travel community, with articles focusing on traveling with chronic illnesses, wheelchair users and those that are hard of sight or hearing. Kay also uplifts local voices in interviews about their culture so that the audience may gain a deeper understanding of the region from a local’s perspective.

Why: Guanajuato City, Mexico, is one of the best major cities to visit in Mexico, perfectly balancing a wide variety of attractions and activities while maintaining low costs for visitors. Guanajuato fully embraces the fun and joyful vibe found throughout Mexico, and represents that with its colorfully painted buildings, painting the hills of the city in vibrant shades. After all, it is the city that inspired the design of Disney’s Coco. As a university city, Guanajuato is always bubbling with exciting events every month that are either free or just a few pesos. To add to the affordability, Guanajuato is an extremely walkable city, and, in just a few hours, you can cover most of the major sites in the city with plenty of time to pick up a churro, elote or tacos from street vendors.

While it might be more efficient to stay at a centrally located hotel like La Casona de Don Lucas or Hotel de la Paz (under $100 and $50, respectively), if you want a hotel that is in a quieter part of the city, hailing a taxi or rideshare service is easy and cheap. Even the attractions in Guanajuato are affordable, with the world famous Mummy Museum boasting best naturally preserved mummies in the world (under $3) and exploring the local culture with the callejonada, an interactive walking tour that sings the local history and legends of Guanajuato. 

Where: Calgary, Canada

Chosen By: Amanda Mactas is an editor at BELLA Magazine and freelance writer based in New York City. Her work has been featured in PureWow, Wine4Food and The Daily Meal, and she also runs a lifestyle blog, Manhattan with a Twist. You can follow her travels at @ManhattanTwist.

Why: While most people solely fly into Calgary as a stopover on their way to Banff, its affordability makes it worth a day trip or weekend getaway. Rooms at the stunning Fairmont Palliser start at just $130 a night, and its recently opened Hawthorne Dining Room & Bar makes it easy to not leave the premises. A visit to the New Central Library doesn’t cost a dime, and allows you to take in the modern architectural gem, all while perusing books, in the center of the city. Stroll along the Bow River over Peace Bridge, or opt for a float down the river (you can rent rafts starting at $55 from Lazy Day Raft Rentals or bring your own). The real draw in Calgary are the bars—do not miss a night or two out at Betty Lou’s Library, Shelter or Proof. Each cocktail bar brings its own unique flavor to the city and is worth a trip to Calgary in and of itself. 

Where: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chosen By: Annette Benedetti is the co-founder of She Explores Life. She is also the Portland city editor for Red Tricycle and writes for a variety of national online and print publications. When she’s away from her desk, she can be found teaching women yoga at wilderness retreats or exploring new locations across the States and abroad.

Why: Chattanooga is an outdoor enthusiast and art lover’s affordable paradise. Located along the winding Tennessee River between the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau, thrill-seeking visitors get a fantastic bird’s-eye view of the area on a tandem flight with Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding ($199). You can also climb up Lookout Mountain for no cost. Once you reach the peak you will be rewarded with the most spectacular 360-degree view in the southeast overlooking seven different states. Nearby, check out Ruby Falls ($22), which recently completed the first phase of a $20 million expansion. Here, visitors can enjoy a whole new guest experience that includes the Village Plaza for live music and food. Both the Ocoee and Tennessee rivers offer superior rafting and kayaking. Just a short drive from downtown, $8.75 buys a day pass to Stone Fort Little Rock City—a nationally recognized bouldering field. Climbers can also get their fix scaling a transparent outdoor climbing wall that towers above the city at High Point Climbing ($18.50). Adventure seekers can get their adrenaline fix at Adventure Sport Innovation, a new company offering water, land and virtual reality experiences where guests hang glide in virtual reality ($12), surf on the Tennessee River ($60), ride down the Riverwalk on an electric unicycle ($35) and more.

Chattanooga’s art scene is no less impressive with free art offerings at The Bluff View Arts District, First Street Sculpture Garden and the Sculpture Fields at Montague Park. And just a small fee gets you into The Houston Museum of Decorative Art, Hunter’s Art Museum and Songbirds Guitar Museum. Don’t leave “River City” without seeing live music at one of the local venues like Songbirds or The Signal, or grabbing a next-level meal at State of Confusion or the recently opened Market South food hall. The Scenic City will also have eight new hotel openings including Hotel Indigo, Tru by Hilton, Aloft by Marriott, Kinley and more.

Where: Oxford, Mississippi

Chosen By: Renée Gordon is veteran travel journalist who has visited more than 100 countries in search of historic and cultural sites and hidden gems. She has a weekly column in The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Newspaper and is a contributor to American Roads and Global Highways as well as several additional publications. She focuses on destinations with a wide variety of sites and activities that encourage broadening your knowledge.

Why: Oxford, Mississippi, is a walkable city filled with historic sites, post-Civil War architecture, museums, entertainment venues, eclectic dining options and unique shopping opportunities. Historic Downtown Square has more than 100 locations of interest. A tour of the University of Mississippi features a plaza dedicated to the first African-American admitted into the university. It is also home to the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and Living Blues magazine. The center documents and preserves blues, gospel and folk traditions through rare documents, books and artifacts. Oxford is the Literary Capital of the South and home to Nobel Prize winner William Faulkner. His home, Rowan Oak offers $5 tours. 

No matter what pleases your palate, you can find it in Oxford. Big Bad Breakfast will make this your favorite meal. Saint Leo is a 2017 James Beard Award semi-finalist for “Best New Restaurant” and one block away is the Saint Leo Lounge, helmed by James Beard-nominated bar director and mixologist. A James Beard Award nominee for Best Chef South reigns over Snackbar. Taylor Grocery, famous for its catfish and live music, is outside the city. The Inn at Ole Miss is within walking distance of everything and accommodations include breakfast for less than $100 per night. An Oxford vacation always fits your budget and your state of mind. 

Where: Ayampe, Guatemala 

Chosen By: Debbie Arcangeles is a remote entrepreneur and the host of The Offbeat Life, a podcast where she interviews individuals who are location independent and digital nomads. She aims to encourage others to follow their true calling and take a chance on themselves. Debbie is also the author of “How to Create a Profitable Podcast,” where she shares how others can launch, grow and take their podcast from hobby to profitable business. Follow her on Instagram @theoffbeatlife.

Why: One of the best kept secrets in Guatemala is Ayampe, a tiny beach and surfing spot that is often overlooked for the more popular backpacker party town of Montañita. In Ayampe, you will find a more peaceful and tranquil spot that will allow you to relax and enjoy secluded beaches and the best surfing you’ll ever experience! Stay at the jungle hotel La Buena Vida, a family owned hotel that offers accommodations for a mere $30 a night (per person) and includes breakfast and WiFi. The best part is that the hotel is only a two-minute walk from town and a three-minute walk from the beach. If you get hungry from all the water activities, go no further than “Los Orishas” a lovely Italian restaurant which serves delicious pastas and large pizzas with dishes ranging from $7-$10. 

Where: Las Vegas, Nevada

Chosen By: Kay is a travel blogger who is focused on making travel more relatable, inclusive and accessible to those wanting to travel. Along with hilarious tourist tales and travel guides, her posts on TheAwkwardTraveller.com offer travel tips for communities who are frequently under-served in the travel community, with articles focusing on traveling with chronic illnesses, wheelchair users and those that are hard of sight or hearing. Kay also uplifts local voices in interviews about their culture so that the audience may gain a deeper understanding of the region from a local’s perspective.

Why: Las Vegas is a city with many faces, but perhaps its most overlooked title is “budget destination.” Hands down, it has the cheapest hotel prices in the country, as the majority of the hotels subsidize the price of their rooms with their prosperous casinos in the lobby. As a result, you can stay right on the Vegas strip anywhere from $20 a night (Circus Circus—great for kids!) to even $150 for some of the luxurious five-star resorts like the Cosmopolitan, The LINQ, Caesars Palace and more. Las Vegas also boasts an incredibly affordably public transportation system with a 24/7 bus that services hotels and attractions both along the strip and throughout the city for only $20 for an unlimited three-day pass.

Vegas isn’t all gambling and partying, either. There are a handful of natural landmarks to visit, like Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire or even the now-world-famous Seven Magic Mountains—which are all free or cost less than a deli sandwich. As for attractions, you can find last minute tickets at discount booths along the Strip, giving you steep discounts to buffets, comedy shows, escape rooms and multiple museums throughout the city. But if you do want the wild nightlife Vegas is famous for, you can even do that on the cheap as well by linking up with a Vegas club promoter who can put you on a guest lists for pool parties, night clubs and limo services for free.

Where: Scottsdale, Arizona

Chosen By: Sarah Funk is a travel host and video producer who runs SarahFunky.com and a YouTube channel, both are dedicated to travel and New York City. She is frequently seen on Travel + Leisure’s Instagram showing viewers unique destinations around the world.

Why: Scottsdale is commonly known as a luxury travel destination with extravagant spas, a beautiful local art scene and tons of wineries. But a secret is that if you visit during the off-season (summer or November/December) you can vacation there on a budget. Luxury hotels can drop their prices as much as 50% during these times of year. Stay at the beautiful five-star Fairmount Scottsdale Princess (which has Arizona’s only white-sand beach on its property) for as little as $199 in July. Two things you must do are kayaking in the desert with Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch ($47 for three hours) and having a cocktail inside the glamorous Presidential Pullman-inspired train car at Platform 18 (craft cocktails start at $11). Watch the Scottsdale video series to see these experiences.

Where: Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Chosen By: Nneya Richards has long been a fashion and travel maven, starting at 15-years-old as a founding contributing editor of TeenVOGUE magazine. She is also a travel and fashion consultant for publications like Vogue and Popsugar, as well as national television shows like CBS’s This Morning. Richards aims to empower people—especially young women of color—to travel, as she believes it is through exploring the world that we will bridge cultural gaps and misunderstandings. Keep up with her on her blog, ’N A Perfect World and her instagram @Nneya, where she’s also co-host of the weekly IGTV series, Two Aging Millennials.

Why: Most people’s reference to this fishing village is that quiet paradise at the end of the movie Shawshank Redemption with big resort destinations like Puerto Vallarta to the North and Acapulco to the south, getting the shine. But this sleepy fishing village in Guerrero, Mexico, was a hot spot in the 70s beloved by celebs like Mick Jagger and still maintains its quiet paradise. Many Zihua residents will remind you that it’s not about partying like its neighbors. Rather, Zihuatanejo is about enjoying the easy life.

A true fishing village, the town centers around the fish market. Get up before sunrise to visit the market at around 6:30 a.m. Trust me, watching the sunrise over the malecon and seeing the chefs and families in the market doing their daily shopping you’ll see the true spirit—the life blood—of Zihuatanejo. After you head to the fish market, grab breakfast a local market and have your fill of rellenos and atole, a yummy hot cinnamon rice-based drink for under $3. But save room for lunch! You have to try tiraditos, a regional ceviche.

We’re talking about food a lot, but whether it’s the community of shared dining or gathering at the beach, Zihuatanejo is all about slowing down, recharging and enjoying what’s around you. Leading the charge of this barefoot luxury experience for a great deal is the new Thompson Hotel in Zihua. The restaurants on property, boasting ancient Mexican cooking techniques and fresh ingredients, attract locals and tourists alike. Well-priced, discreet and with a locals-led surfing and yoga scene, as you drive through the beautiful green jungle and suddenly see Playa La Ropa beneath you, you immediately know that you’ve found a utopia.

Where: South Africa

Chosen By: Katie Jackson is a Montana-based travel writer whose work has been published by Travel + Leisure, USA TODAY, Fox News and The Sunday Times. Every trip she takes is an investment, and she likes to pay the rewards forward by helping other travelers. You can follow her adventures (and misadventures) on Instagram.

Why: I’ve always said South Africa is the best “entry-level” trip if it’s your first time visiting the continent. While it’s not the cheapest African country to visit, its value proposition is unparalleled. It boasts amazing wildlife—including the “big five”—diverse culture (the country has at least 10 official languages), unspoiled beaches and vibrant cities. Cape Town was named the best destination in Africa for the seventh time at the 2019 World Tourism Awards. 

Getting to Cape Town just got a lot easier with United adding nonstop service from Newark last month. It’s the only nonstop flight from the U.S. to South Africa’s most striking city, and travelers can expect to see fare wars as other airlines adjust to the new competition. According to Justin Barnette, Head of Marketing and Communications North America for South Africa Tourism, now is also a great time to visit given the current exchange rate. “The strength of the U.S. dollar makes the destination quite affordable when considering dining out in fabulous restaurants, enjoying world-renowned wines or finding the perfect souvenir to bring home,” says Barnette. And if even that sounds a bit plush for your budget, consider what the 2019 Backpacker Index data shows: the cost of a dorm bed, three budget meals, two public transportation rides, one paid cultural attraction and three cheap beers in Cape Town is only $45 a day.

Where: Maui, Hawaii

Chosen by: Becca Ingle is an avid family travel blogger. She is the founder of BeccaIngle.com, where you can read all her travel guides. Follow her on Instagram to see behind the scenes of each trip (@Beccaingle).

Why: Ever since Southwest opened up flights to Hawaii, travelers have been able to experience budget-friendly Maui. Set travel alerts on Google—you can find roundtrip flights as low as $500 from major airports across the U.S. The best time for affordable travel to the island is during the off-season, typically between April and September when the weather is still just as amazing and prices drop for rentals. Once on Maui, stay in a budget-friendly rental. Book either of these properties by Maui Beach Side to be in a prime spot. If the hotel scene is more your vibe, the Four Seasons Maui Resort at Wailea has several offers at press time, one being a $400 resort credit when you book certain rooms. 

Maui’s free beaches stretch for 30 miles; make sure to stock up on food from local markets for a picnic. The north end of Kamaole Beach Park is family-friendly and a great spot for free snorkeling. Grab lunch at local favorite Mama’s Fish house, where you can’t go wrong ordering any of their apps or soups, all under $20. Then head to Makena Beach in the evenings for drum circles and fire dancing shows. Other cost-friendly activities include hiking Haleakala National Park, home to Maui’s highest peak. The cost is $1.50 per car; be sure to make a reservation up to two months out to watch the sunrise. In the winter months, the Auau channel between Maui, Lanai and Molokai is one of the best places to whale watch in the world.

Take the Road to Hana to Wai’anapanapa State Park, a black-sand beach, and the pools of Ohe’o Gulch, which are fed by waterfalls. Stop by the many fruit stands along the way to stock up on delicious goods for market prices. If the forecast calls for rain, head to Maui Ocean Center for a look at the island’s incredible ocean life. The new Humpbacks of Hawaii exhibit allows you to connect with the whales using 4k imagery. If you still need to add extra fun to your trip, book a final night at Grand Wailea Hotel to experience the best waterslides in Maui; the hotel will give you two days to use the amenities.

Where: Chiang Rai, Thailand

Chosen By: Stefanie Michaels, the CEO of AdventureGirl.com, is a TV personality, having appeared on every major network in the U.S. and with features in People and Time Magazines, to name a few. A Vanity Fair feature named Michaels “America’s Tweetheart” for being the first travel brand to reach over 1 million followers. Find her at @adventuregirl on all social platforms.

Why: Thailand has been overrun by tourism for the last decade, driving prices up and with a troublesome government in the capital in the south, it’s better to check out a lesser known area, called Chiang Rai (pronounced cheng ray). This part of northern Thailand near the Burma boarder is where tourism is needed to help support the tribes of Long Neck refugees, who fled here in the late 80s from Burmese persecution. Mai Hill is their tribal area and tours can be astounding and educational for outsiders. Because of its locale, and that it’s often overlooked as a tourist destination, this area is much more favorable for monetary exchanges… plus, it’s spectacular on every level!

Where: Beacon, New York

Chosen by: Amanda Mactas is an editor at BELLA Magazine and freelance writer based in New York City. Her work has been featured in PureWow, Wine4Food and The Daily Meal, and she also runs a lifestyle blog, Manhattan with a Twist. You can follow her travels at @ManhattanTwist.

Why: An hour and a half from New York City, Beacon has that small-town charm that big cities are missing. It’s probably most well-known for Dia Beacon, an art museum with installations and exhibits that change constantly throughout the year. Visitors can check it out for only $15 (or free for children 12 and under). Stick with the art theme but get your hands a little more dirty at Hudson Beach Glass, where you can do glass blowing starting at $40—a super fun experience.

For those who like to imbibe, there are plenty of local spots that deserve a visit, from Dennings Point Distillery (you can get a tour and tasting for just $5) to 2 Way Brewing, which also serves wine and tasty bites to Draught Industries for those who really love beer. If you want to steer clear of the booze, head to Beacon Bath and Bubble for a traditional ice cream float or the Alps Sweet Shop to satisfy your sweet tooth. Affordable Airbnbs are abundant, but other options include cozy bed-and-breakfast Beacon Hermitage, which has rooms starting at $100, or The Roundhouse, which has rooms starting at $199 and a cozy cocktail lounge overlooking a waterfall. 

Where: Lititz, Pennsylvania

Chosen By: Karen Loftus is a luxury travel and lifestyle writer. She’s been to 75 countries and all seven continents. Her stories and photos have appeared on Vogue, Architectural Digest and Robb Report, among others. Karen is also the Adventuress in Chief of Women’s Adventure Travels, an all-women travel company that inspires women to empower themselves and those around them through travel.

Why: Philadelphia has been trending for some time now. However, smaller spots beyond the city are creating just as much of a buzz. Located 76 miles outside of Philly and set on 96 acres of bucolic farmland in Lancaster County, it’s a surprise to many that the tiny town of Lititz—with a mere 9,000 residents—is where Beyonce, Bruce, Bono, and Gaga go to get their tour on.

Hotel Rock Lititz opened just over a year ago to accommodate this visiting creative crew. The hotel is an eco-warrior’s dream, built floor-to-ceiling with repurposed pieces from top tours. You may not see stars on-site, but you may see their crew and choreographers at the hotel’s Per Diem restaurant and bar. You can sleep like a rock star at Hotel Rock Lititz for a mere $200 a night, less than the cost of a concert.

Or leave the contemporary scene behind and venture into a town rich in history. The once iconic Wilbur Chocolate Factory is now home to the newly opened Wilbur Lititz, part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton. There’s original exposed brick throughout the hotel and in the buzzing Blackworth Live Fire Grill.

On and off Main Street, you’ll find the country’s first commercial pretzel company, a whiskey distillery with bricks from a still from 1815 and the first girls boarding school dating back to 1746. The Bull’s Head Pub is an authentic British pub designed that’s part of the General Sutter, a classic Lancaster County country inn.

Throughout the town, there’s a mad mix of past and present. You will see a fair share of stores selling kombucha, candy and vintage; a bike and butcher shop; a brewery; a farmer’s market and—since this is Amish Country—plenty of horses and buggies.

READ MORE:

• “Quit Your Job And Live Abroad: 10 Places So Cheap You Might Be Able To Stop Working”

• “17 Best Places To See The Northern Lights In 2020”

• “US Travel: 25 Best Places To Visit In 2020”

• “Where To Go Next: 27 Best Places To Travel In 2020”

The 43 Cheapest Places To Travel In 2020 – Forbes

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