10 places to go while they’re still cheap
Do your travel ambitions eclipse your bank account? We’ve got just the fix: destinations around the world that offer plenty of cheap ways to stay, play and eat. Whether you’re on the prowl for a perfect beach or a city bursting with culture, these cities and countries deliver big but cost little. Not all of them will stay cheap in the years to come, though, so if you’re inspired to go, do it soon.
Bargain hunters, outdoorsy types and the food-obsessed should look to the Philippines. The country’s combination of cosmopolitan affordability and splendid nature make it a destination that offers a lot for the money. Lonely Planet recently named it one of the top value destinations for 2014, and according to CIO Wealth Management Research’s Prices and Earnings report, Manila has some of the cheapest shopping and upscale dining in the world. For example, a couple can buy a new wardrobe there for about $410 — seven times less than what you’d pay for similar items in Tokyo. And the average cost of a three-course meal in a good restaurant is a mere $18, compared to about $95 in Geneva or Oslo (two of the cities featured in our recent story on the?world’s most overpriced destinations).
If you’re concerned about whether a visit to the Philippines is appropriate so soon after Typhoon Haiyan, know that the country considers tourism to be an important part of its recovery. Large portions of the country — and the majority of popular vacation destinations — were undamaged.
Like an ancient epic adapted for modern life, after years of strife, Greece is once again on a quest. The economic crisis that racked the country also dampened tourism — a serious blow to a destination that depends so heavily on holiday seekers. Now, Greece hopes to be the place that launches a thousand ships, airplanes and trains, all carrying visitors back to its ancient ruins and famed beaches. Beguiling budget travelers with a siren song of lower prices and smaller crowds, Greece’s only real question is: Are you listening?
Can you afford azure waters and silky white-sand beaches? In the Dominican Republic, you can. While the Caribbean isn’t known for its affordability, the Dominican Republic remains — at least for now — a bastion of value in a sea of high prices. With service from low-cost carriers including AirTran, Frontier and JetBlue, and air-and-hotel vacation packages from not only a slew of airlines but also discount providers like CheapCaribbean.com, the Dominican Republic seems to have an endless supply of affordable options. Prefer to head off the beaten path once you arrive??The Guardian?recently rounded up?10 great budget beach hotels in the Dominican Republic.
Two key aspects score Mexico City a spot on this list: You can generally find very affordable flights from the U.S., and once you’re there, you can enjoy luxury for a whole lot less than in other major cities. And while that makes it a slightly different style of “cheap,” it’s certainly one worth embracing, particularly if you’re focusing more on maximizing value than on paying as little as possible. According to the Prices and Earnings report, Mexico City is one of the cheapest places in the world to stay in a five-star hotel: The average rate is $210 per night. Compare that to $730, the average rate at a luxury hotel in New York City, and upscale Mexico City starts to seem dazzlingly within reach.
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