Itching to explore the world, but your bank account says otherwise? Here are ten budget travel destinations for 2018.
To be able to travel is an invaluable thing that you can’t quite put a dollar amount on. Except you can. While the experiences of learning about new cultures and traditions, self-discovery and meeting new people are truly priceless opportunities, the actual associated costs often make you think twice. Despite this, however, there are still a few destinations out there that offer great value in comparison to the clichéd tourist destinations and their sky-high prices. Here we’ve compiled ten cities across the globe that offer fantastic experiences and authentic cultures, without totally breaking the bank.
A budget-friendly option at least in part is due to the historically weak Mexican peso, Guadalajara comes in as a less chaotic alternative than Mexico City for those seeking a vibrant Mexican experience. With an endless amount of museums and theatres, Guadalajara is known as a guardian for Mexico’s cultural heritage (it is the birthplace of Mariachi music after all) while also pushing it forward in unique and exciting ways, most notably its legendary culinary scene.
Must-See: Museo de las Artes, Instituto Cultural de Cabañas, Plaza de los Mariachis
A taste of France on the Canadian dollar, Montréal offers a one-of-a-kind experience that’s all about living well. From the top-notch food and arts scene to the old-world charm with its cobblestoned streets and horse carriages, the city is filled to the brim with a charming and complicated history unlike any other.
Must-See: Old Montréal, Musée de Beaux-Arts de Montréal, Basilique Notre-Dame
La Paz, Bolivia
Bolivia as a whole is a destination for the more adventurous and recently has gained notoriety as a travel destination that is friendly on the wallet compared to the growing tourism scenes of other South American countries. From the extreme outdoors (La Paz itself is situated 3,660m above sea level) including the Andes and the Amazon to the carnivalesque street life and rich culture, La Paz is an ideal destination to get lost in.
Must-See: Museo del Oro (Museum of Gold), Mercado de Hechicería, Fundación Solón
Portugal as a whole seems to be having its moment in the spotlight. The recent boom in tourism has fueled an incredible redevelopment across the country, most notably in Lisbon. The prices, however, have yet to catch up. Once western Europe long-lost secret, Lisbon maintains its sunny charm, culinary scene and traveller-friendly reputation.
Must-See: Alfama, Castelo de São Jorge, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
The declining Turkish lira means that travellers can explore the already wallet-friendly Istanbul cheaper than usual. Known as the meeting point of Eastern and Western civilization, Istanbul is home to some of the world’s most charming old-world markets, spice carts, palaces and more, the Turkish capital offers enough to satisfy all of your senses.
Must-See: Blue Mosque, Topkapı Palace, Süleymaniye Mosque, Aya Sofya
If you’re idea of an adventure involves camping, road trips, hiking and the great outdoors, Arizona is a great destination worthy of consideration. Beyond the obvious visit to the Grand Canyon, there are a number sights and scenic views to behold, from Sedona and Monument Valley to Havasu Falls and Saguaro National Park.
Must-See: Grand Canyon National Park, Saguaro National Park, Antelope Canyon
Unlike Costa Rica, Nicaragua isn’t yet on tourism radars everywhere. Nicaragua does, however, offer a very similar experience to its popular neighbour, hence the prices that can be had a just a fraction of the cost. Granada, in particular, is a great destination for those looking to experience everything Nicaragua has to offer. With so much in the surrounding area, Granada is often used a great base, with Peninsula de Asese, Volcán Mombacho, Laguna de Apoyo and much more all less than a few hours away. Granada itself is a treat too, as its picturesque elegance and beautiful vivid buildings will have your feed dripping in likes for weeks to come.
Must-See: Laguna de Apoyo, Volcán Mombacho, Museo de Chocolate (Museum of Chocolate)
While Krakow is certainly no stranger to crowds, the Polish capital somehow continues to remain an affordable hub of tourism, especially in comparison to similar cities like Berlin and Prague. For the architectural lover, Krakow soars in, with its old town boasting magnificent churches, museums and markets, but the city’s mythical atmosphere spans far beyond.
Must-See: Wawel Royal Castle, Rynek Underground, Kościuszko Mound, Museum of Pharmacy
Often overshadowed by three of Morocco’s main cities, Marrakech, Casablanca and Fes, Essaouira maintains itself as a viable option in this ever-popular slice of north Africa. With the rapid increase in tourism throughout Morocco over the past few years, Essaouira is a destination that has retained its traditional character and heritage. The “Wind City of Africa” means it’s often overlooked by beach-going tourists each year, but the walled city’s narrow alleyways, traditional hammams, medina, port and more are perfect for leisurely discovery.
Must-See: Essaouira Medina, Île de Mogador, Skala du Port
If you’re truly looking for the best value on your dollar getaway in 2018, look no further than Tallinn. Located on the Baltic Sea, the Estonian capital is one of Europe’s oldest towns, retaining still its charming heritage and scenic views. This peaceful slice of old-world Europe is bursting with magnificent sights, from the medieval streetscapes to the gothic churches and noble merchants’ houses.
Must-See: Kadriorg Park, Kumu, Estonian Open-Air Museum, Kadriorg Art Museum
Words by Braeden Alexander.