Visit These Amazing Destinations While the Prices Are Low
There are a number of reasons travel prices might drop for a particular destination. Perhaps there are recent economic or security issues that have caused a dip in tourist interests. Sometimes it's as simple as an expected cool stretch in a hot-weather destination. Whatever the reason, there's a long list of desirable locales that are surprisingly affordable to visit right this minute. Keep reading for some exciting and budget-friendly travel inspiration.
This fairy-tale city is a must see for anybody wanting to get off the beaten trail and have an authentic central European experience. With delicious traditional food, stunning architecture, and a deep history to delve into, you'll wish you had just one more day. Meals and drinks in Krakow are downright cheap, so make the most of it and dine like a king. "As with most places in Europe, the further you wander from the main town square, the lower the bill will be, so enjoy a stroll away from the tourist hot spots to find yourself some dinner. Gospoda Koko is a local favorite, where you can get an appetizer, main course, side dish, and a drink for the equivalent of just €7 ($8 USD). If you don't mind the lack of table service, it's a perfect choice for experiencing the local specialties — don't pass up the pierogi!" said André Oliveira, content marketing executive at Busabout.
Prague, Czech Republic
Beautiful Prague can be explored easily on a budget. Like Budapest, you'll find the meals and drinks in Prague are very well-priced. "Krcma is a local spot in the Old Town, serving authentic Czech dishes for around €7 ($8 USD) — and you won't be disappointed with portion size. You can also make the most of the many street markets, with various foods, knickknacks, and souvenirs on offer," Oliveira said. "Havel Market is exclusively for produce, or for a broader range, have a wander around the Prague market. Here you can pick up regional homemade products even cheaper than you would find in the local cafes and restaurant, with an awesome atmosphere to go with it."
France is an awe-inspiring destination with an expensive reputation. Recently, prices on flights from many US cities to Paris, Nice, Lyon, and Marseille have seen a dramatic decrease, which means France has never been more affordable. "As the US dollar remains strong against the Euro, Americans are able to get more bang for their buck when traveling throughout Europe," said Jessica Bisesto, senior editor at TravelPirates. "If you've visited and fell in love with Venice, head to the fairy-tale town of Colmar, France. Offering cobblestone streets, romantic boat tours down a river in the middle of town, and nearby vineyards, this destination is significantly affordable and a fantastic under-the-radar French gem."
Airline prices between the US and Hong Kong have been plummeting over the past year, but even more dramatically so in the last few weeks — Hong Kong Airlines just announced that it's entering the market with shockingly affordable direct flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Hong Kong, and the competition has reacted accordingly. It's a prime time to explore the many activities Hong Kong has to offer.
While it's not usually known for being a low-cost travel destination, flights to Barcelona can be very affordable if booked at the right time – and once there, it's easy enough to keep your costs down with a few simple insider tips. The sunny city has plenty of free activities, including walking tours, so get your bearings from someone in the know, and only pay whatever you think the tour was worth at the end. "Make good use of the public transport, which is very reasonably priced if you avoid buying single-use tickets. If you're going to be staying a few days, you can pick up a T10 ticket, which gives you 10 journeys for just €10 ($12 USD), including the buses, metro, trams, and trains. Keep your distance from the tourist traps and journey a little further out to find reasonably priced bars and restaurants. And why not enjoy an expense-free afternoon at one of the numerous sandy beaches? One of the most popular would be the thriving Platja Barcelona, but be prepared for a crowd," Oliveira said.
The Hungarian capital is known for making travelers' lives a little bit easier, with money stretching a lot further here than it does in some nearby countries. "Particularly notable here are the cheap alcoholic drinks, with some of lowest prices in Europe. Here you can pick up a glass of wine or a bottle of beer for just €1 ($1 USD), or if you're feeling a bit fancy, a large cocktail would set you back €4 ($5 USD) — so for those looking for a party atmosphere, Budapest is the perfect location. The famous ruin bars are well worth a visit; the crumbling remnants of World War II were transformed into thriving party spots, where you can make the most of these affordable drinks and dance the night away," Oliveira said.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
For those who want to experience the outdoors in a picturesque location without blowing the bank, look no further than Lake Bled in Slovenia. This incredible site somehow still slides under the radar for most tourists and features numerous hikes with views of the church, which is set on an island in the middle of the lake. "A lot of great spots here are within reach on foot, so keep your wallet in your bag and get hiking! For those who prefer to cycle, you can hire a bike for just €5 ($6 USD) and cruise around the lake's edges. An easy shuttle ride away is the Vintgar Gorge, an incredible canyon cut through the hills by water flowing from the Julian Alps. With only €4 ($5 USD) entry, there's no reason not to go and marvel at the view and follow a few of the trails," Oliveira said.
Adventuring internationally has become more accessible than ever with the recent influx of airfare sales, so why not go under the Tuscan sun? Just a short drive from Florence or a train ride from Venice or Rome, the Tuscan region thrives during the months of September-November. During this time, known officially as the "Fall Harvest," almost every town in the region celebrates the ripening of its grapes, featuring an abundance of food and cultural events. Additionally, since the high heat and tourist traps have mainly disappeared, villas and transportation are much more affordable and available than during the peak Summer months. Tenuta Torciano, founded in 1720, is a family-owned winery located in the gorgeous medieval town of San Gimignano in Tuscany. Pierluigi Giachi, the owner of the property, says this is a great time to take advantage of the visceral vegetation and get outside! The Fall Harvest is great for finding truffles and mushrooms, an activity offered at the winery.
Try exploring the region by scooter! Fall means warm days and cooler evenings in the region, and there's no better way to live "la dolce vita" than traveling off the beaten path by scooter and seeing the Tuscan countryside covered in Fall foliage. The region is also full of natural springs (most of which have free admission!), where you can find groups of people spending their evenings and weekends soaking in all of the water's many health benefits.
"Just a couple years ago, many American travelers would have considered the Azores in Portugal too exotic or expensive for a getaway unless they were looking for a luxe vacation destination," said Chris McCarty, a travel specialist for Kimkim, which specializes in tailor-made adventures customized by local travel experts.
"That's changing because a number of budget airlines have opened up routes from Europe to the Azores. Portugal's gorgeous volcanic islands are also becoming more accessible because of budding direct routes from the US to the Azores via SATA, an Azorean airline. . . . The other incredible thing about this romantic outdoorsy destination is that once you arrive in the Azores, you can do a lot of nature activities, which aren't too hard on the wallet. Plus, the food in the Azores is incredibly affordable with great local beef, seafood, wine (from Pico and mainland Portugal), and espressos that will cost you around 70 cents."