5 Awesome, and Awesomely Frugal, Vacation Spots4 min read
Do you want an international vacation that delivers the experience of a lifetime without breaking the bank? These 5 budget-friendly travel destinations may be exactly what you and your family are looking for this summer and fall. Driven by changes in the economy, politics, and the strength of the U.S. dollar, many of these bucket-list destinations are now within easy reach of even the most frugal U.S. traveler.
The United Kingdom
The shockwaves of Brexit are still reverberating throughout Europe and the current economic uncertainty may be a windfall for U.S. travelers. The exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and British pound is at its lowest in over 30 years. For U.S. travelers to the United Kingdom, this means they will have more spending power during their vacations.
In addition, lower fuel prices and cheaper tickets from budget carriers like Norwegian have been driving airfares down in general. Now you can see landmarks like Big Ben, Parliament, the London Eye, and the rolling greenery of Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales at a much lower cost than any other time in the recent past.
Similarly, the financial crisis in Greece has made it a budget-friendly destination this year. Hotel prices are lower than they have been in more than a decade. Additionally, the pace in major cities like Athens is a little less hectic as rising gas prices have reduced non-essential travel among residents. If you’re looking for an island experience, skip the touristy and expensive destinations like Santorini or Mykonos for a quieter, but just as luxurious, experience on Paros or Skiathos.
Airfares to Greece are now more than 40% off between August and November due to competitive fares from United/Air Canada, Lufthansa/Aegean, Air Serbia, Turkish Airlines, and Delta/KLM. Flights that previously cost upward of $950 round trip can now be found for as low as $555.
Cuba is quickly becoming a viable vacation option for U.S. travelers. Diplomatic relations are improving and the trade embargo continues to thaw. It’s a fairly inexpensive and culturally rewarding trip – if you’re willing to overcome a few hurdles. You will need a travel visa and your trip must meet one of Cuba’s 12 broad and legally permissible purposes – such as people-to-people tours. Book through a reputable travel agent to ensure that your trip plans are legitimate – try Intrepid Travel or Insight Cuba.
American Airlines announced travel deals to Cuba for trips booked between September and November. Airfares as low as $268 round trip can be found from select cities.
The Cuba Skate team along with founder Miles Jackson work on cleaning up and building a new ramp at the Havana skate park this weekend.
Game of Thrones fans rejoice! You can visit the Land of Fire and Ice, where your beloved series is filmed, on a deep discount. While flights by dragon are not available yet, you can fly from Newark, New Jersey to Reykjavik for only $99 on Iceland’s WOW Air. In addition, Icelandair has introduced or expanded its service in Seattle, Minneapolis, Orlando, Newark, and Chicago.
Iceland is a nature-lover’s dream. Enjoy whale watching, bathe in the natural geothermal spa at the Blue Lagoon, explore geysers and ice caves, and take a trip to the iconic Gullfoss waterfall.
Puerto Rico offers a unique blend of convenience and budget-friendly benefits for the U.S. traveler. While a trip to the island will transport you to a completely different state of mind, you never actually leave the United States.
Puerto Rico is less than a three-hour flight from Miami. Since it is a U.S. territory, no passports are required. From July to September, the official off-season, you’ll avoid the crowds and find cheaper hotel prices if you’re willing to take the risk of visiting during hurricane season. Even in the fall during the high season, beachfront hotels can be booked for $130 a night and under $100 just a few blocks from the beach.
- The London Eye, image courtesy of Visit London
- Greek Islands, image courtesy of The Guardian
- Cuban Street, image courtesy of Newsweek
- Iceland, image courtesy of Icelandic Times
- Puerto Rico, image courtesy of MeetPuertoRico.com