The airfare, the accommodation, the daily expenditures – it all starts to add up when you’re thinking about where to go on your next trip. But there’s no need to feel guilty about taking a vacation, especially to a budget-friendly destination.
We looked at the cost* of some of the most common things travelers are likely to spend money on during vacation– like a taxi ride, local beer, meal at a mid-range restaurant, as well as a stay in a 3-star hotel, to reveal the best bargain vacations of 2018. Each month’s destination was selected based on a combination of good weather conditions as well as being outside of the respective peak tourist season.
Check out the full chart of each destination’s prices below. Go to chart
January – San Jose, Costa Rica
Locals hardly give enough credit to Costa Rica’s bustling capital city, but San Jose’s charm lies within its lush, forested surroundings, friendly people and central location to the rest of Costa Rica’s unexplored treasures.
In the city center, the Mercado Central is the local place to feast. Inside, a number of small restaurants and quick service counters offer meals to go like the classic ‘chifrijo’, a layered dish made of rice, black beans and pork that is sure to satisfy any appetite. Unbeknownst to most visitors, San Jose’s craft beer scene is growing, and the Stiefel Pub in Barrio Amon has a lengthy menu that even beer aficionados will have a hard time choosing between.
Recommended hotel in San Jose: Isla Verde Hotel
February – Tangier, Morocco
Just 20 miles off the coast of Spain lies Morocco’s coastal gem – Tangier, a bustling city seeped in Arabic, Berber and European influences. Its Medina, or Old City, is a winding labyrinth of stalls and cobblestone streets where the main attractions are bargaining, people watching and drinking sweet mint tea.
Although the muddled waters of Tangier Beach are not the ideal place to go swimming, it’s a nice place for a ‘paseo’ (a leisurely walk) in the sand and shopping along the Avenue Pasteur. For a real beach paradise, drive an hour south to Asilah where you’ll find turquoise waters and a picturesque, white-walled town reminiscent of Santorini.
Recommended hotel in Tangier: Dar el Kasbah Eastern Telegraph Company
March – Puebla, Mexico
One of Mexico’s oldest cities and the fourth largest in the country, Mexicans and tourists alike know Puebla as a university town with an acclaimed cuisine, colonial history and colorful surroundings.
Nearby the vibrant Zocalo de Puebla square is the Museo Amparo, which has one of the finest collections of Mexican art in Latin America. And for architecture, there’s no better place to explore than the baroque Capilla del Rosario, a 17th-century church with an elaborate interior. Shop for vintage items and antiques along Callejon de los Sapos (Frog Alley) and browse through ceramics and crafts from all over Mexico at the El Parian market.
Recommended hotel in Puebla: Hotel del Capitan de Puebla
April – Novi Sad, Serbia
Located on the banks of the Danube, Novi Sad is perhaps most known for its boisterous Exit Festival held every July in the Petrovaradin Fortress. But even if you’re not here to enjoy the beats, the former Austro-Hungarian Empire citadel is worth wandering around, especially for the views over the city.
In 2021, Novi Sad will have the honor of being the first non-EU European Capital of Culture. Get one step ahead of the crowds and go this year. Check out the Museum of Vojvodina and stroll down the main pedestrian street, Zmaj Jovina. Settle down for dinner at one of the local ‘rostilj’ (barbecue restaurants) and order the ‘cevapcici’, hand-rolled sausages made from a mixture of lamb, beef and pork that are grilled and served alongside flatbread and onions.
Recommended hotel in Novi Sad: Fortress Apartments
May – Detroit, MI, US
America’s Motor City is going through a re-awakening. The former capital of America’s automobile industry, Detroit’s up-and-coming cultural museums, art spaces and culinary establishments are bringing life to its neon-lit streets and urban surroundings. Spend some time learning about America’s young but significant history at the Henry Ford Museum as well as Fort Wayne.
After New York City, Detroit is home to the second-largest theater district in the country. The historic Fisher Theater is one of Detroit’s oldest live performance venues and the place to catch Broadway touring shows. The city’s crown jewel, the Fox Theater, is one of the highest-grossing in the country.
Every May at the end of the month, Detroit hosts the Movement Electronic Music Festival, an annual event drawing in crowds who are interested in dance and techno music.
Recommended hotel in Detroit: Hotel St. Regis
June – Brașov, Romania
What would a trip to the heart of Transylvania be without experiencing some of Eastern Europe’s finest nature? Brașov is Romania’s gateway to the rural countryside of the Carpathian Mountains and all its outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and wildlife.
But there’s also plenty to see and do in the city. For scenes straight out of a fairy tale, walk along Brașov’s cobblestoned streets to Catherine’s Gate, the city’s last standing original medieval gate. Take in Brașov’s history with a tour of the Biserica Neagra, the Black Church, and admire the views from Brașov’s very own “Hollywood Sign” high up in the forested hills, which can be reached a quick hike or cable car ride.
Recommended hotel in Brasov: Pension Casa Timar
July – Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Travelers often make their way to the capital of Spain’s Galicia region at the end of the well-known pilgrimage route, Camino de Santiago. Walking routes aside, Santiago’s Old Town is a beautiful Unesco Site characterized by its stony streets and mix of Gothic, Romanesque and baroque buildings.
Along the Rua do Franco, you’ll find family-run restaurants and cozy bars to grab a glass of red wine and munch on complimentary little bites, in true Spanish style, like croquettes, tortilla and fresh seafood. Order the ‘Pulpo Gallego,’ or Galician-style octopus served with olive oil, paprika and boiled potatoes. The street leads up to Santiago’s cathedral, an important Roman Catholic church and reputed burial site of the apostle Saint James the Great.
Recommended hotel in Santiago de Compostela: Lux Santiago
August – Ohrid, Macedonia
On the edge of one of Europe’s oldest and deepest lakes, Ohrid’s clear blue skies, many hours of sunshine and important historical landmarks make for an enjoyable summer getaway. Get acquainted with Ohrid on a scenic boat tour before dedicating hours of enjoying water activities like swimming, snorkeling and diving.
For sightseeing, it would be impossible to miss the Byzantine architecture of St. Jovan of Kaneo. With its scenic location atop a cliff, the Orthodox church is one of the most photographed places in Macedonia. The St. Sophia Church is also a great example of Macedonian medieval art and frescoes, and while you’re at it, the Church of St. Pantelejmon-Plaoshnik, the site of the first university in Europe and where the Cyrillic alphabet was created, should not be missed.
Recommended hotel in Ohrid: Apartments Lukanov
September – Batumi, Georgia
Georgia’s second largest city is yet to really be discovered. A charmingly quaint beach town, Batumi is a city filled with contrasts. An authentic old town comes alive with a booming street art scene, while 19th-century architecture sits alongside modern skyscrapers and casinos on every corner.
There is much to love about Batumi, not least its beach and waterfront promenade – a four mile stretch dotted with hotels, bars, sculptures and fountains. Take a leisurely stroll or bike ride along the coast before catching a sunset cruise on the Black Sea. If you’re lucky, you might even see dolphins along the way!
Recommended hotel in Batumi: Hotel Iberia Batumi
October – Sochi, Russia
A busy resort town on the Black Sea, Sochi is where local celebrities and elites often come to relax at the beach and enjoy the animated nightlife. Far less crowded during fall, the “Summer Capital of Russia” is pleasantly warm and affordable in October, perfect for walking around the Stalinist-style buildings or the lush gardens of the tropical Arboretum Botanical Garden.
In addition to its summer activities like swimming and sunbathing, Sochi has plenty of cultural institutions to offer. The lavish Sochi Art Museum presents some of the finest collections of Russian paintings and decorative art while the Winter Theater showcases world-renowned ballet, opera and theater performances.
Recommended hotel in Sochi: Marianna Sochi
November – Arequipa, Peru
Affectionately known as Peru’s most beautiful city, Arequipa’s striking colonial architecture lies dramatically against a towering volcanic background. Its centrally located Plaza de Armas is home to the famous Basilica Catedral de Arequipa, a massive 17th-century cathedral that spans the entire length of the square.
Just around the corner from the plaza is the Museo Santuarios Andinos, where visitors will encounter Juanita – the perfectly preserved mummy of a little girl who was offered as a human sacrifice during the Incan Empire. Across the river, the colorful Yanahuara district is not to be missed. Indulge in a hearty meal at La Nueva Palomino and share a sizzling meat platter with all the local specialties. The Mirador de Yanahuara has some of the best views of the Misti Volcano, as well as ample opportunity to buy crafts and souvenirs.
Recommended hotel in Arequipa: La Posada Nueva Espana Hotel Arequipa
December – Chiang Mai, Thailand
Although the locals will be walking around in leather jackets and scarves, northern Thailand is the perfect place to escape the winter blues due to its comfortable daytime temperatures and little-to-no rain. Within the historic Old City walls, modern restaurants and eclectic bazaars mingle with well-preserved monuments and ancient landmarks. Ornate Buddhist temples decorated in gold inside and out can be found by the hundreds.
Overlooking the city from its mountainous throne sits Chiang Mai’s most recognizable landmark, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Considered one of the most sacred sites for Thai people, Doi Suthep still functions as a working monastery today where visitors can explore the temple grounds and enjoy impressive views over the city.
Recommended hotel in Chiang Mai: Mountain View Guesthouse Chiangmai
Here’s an overview of our budget destinations 2018 and the prices you can expect there:
|Location||1 Mile Taxi Ride||1 X Domestic Beer||Meal-for-1 in an inexpensive restaurant||Avg. price 3-star** hotel|
|San Jose, Costa Rica||USD 0.96||USD 1.21||USD 6.07||USD 72|
|Tangier, Morocco||USD 1.06||USD 1.67||USD 3.20||USD 43|
|Puebla, Mexico||USD 1.06||USD 1.08||USD 4.51||USD 47|
|Novi Sad, Serbia||USD 1.18||USD 0.61||USD 4.94||USD 40|
|Detroit, MI, US||USD 2.24||USD 1.71||USD 12.07||USD 194|
|Brasov, Romania||USD 0.88||USD 0.72||USD 5.11||USD 51|
|Santiago de Compostela, Spain||USD 2.22||USD 0.79||USD 9.41||USD 93|
|Ohrid, Macedonia||USD 0.78||USD 0.85||USD 3.83||USD 37|
|Batumi, Georgia||USD 0.56||USD 0.72||USD 3.95||USD 55|
|Sochi, Russia||USD 0.58||USD 1.84||USD 7.34||USD 43|
|Arequipa, Peru||USD 3.44||USD 1.44||USD 2.50||USD 63|
|Chiang Mai, Thailand||USD 1.20||USD 1.82||USD 4.24||USD 47|