Looking for affordable summer vacation spots? These destinations are often overlooked but are quite spectacular and budget-friendly
We’re all looking for a good opportunity for vacation, right? But Cruises don’t give you much time to see the sights and traveling on your own can be a huge expense.
Fortunately, some vacation options don’t cost an arm and a leg. Here are some of the best options all around the world. These places are affordable, and you’ll get a more authentic experience since they aren’t usually flooded with tourists.
But let’s dig into the specifics……
Download the Skyscanner app and set up alerts to any city in the world. I have about 30 different alerts set up at a time and whenever a price drops I get notified. Thanks to Skyscanner I booked a roundtrip ticket from Miami to London (no layovers) for less than $350, when the regular price was over $600!!
Affordable Summer Vacation Spots
Toronto might not be Canada’s capital city, but there is still plenty to do here! It’s even been nicknamed the Hollywood of the North by some.
If you’re looking to visit Toronto on a budget, there are plenty of options. Since you’ll be visiting in the summer, you should consider camping just outside the city in one of several campgrounds. Hostels and Airbnb can also offer a cheaper housing option in the city.
Budget hotels usually run around 85 CAD per night.
If you’re planning to stay in Toronto for more than a couple of days, buying a weekly transit pass, 42.25 CAD, will save on travel costs.
There are numerous restaurants, free museums, and other options for daily activities. Plus, just exploring the city on foot can make for an incredible vacation.
Just don’t forget to make it out of the city to enjoy Canada’s beautiful landscapes for a day or two!
Yellowstone National Park, The United States
This is one location that’s busy all year round, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of the most remarkable landscapes in the world.
Yellowstone is a fantastic vacation for anyone who loves the outdoors, animals, geology, or just likes the thrill of standing in one of the world’s largest volcanoes.
Make sure to plan ahead if you want to stay in a campsite or lodge in the national park itself. These locations fill up early and stay full for most of the summer season.
A week pass to visit the park costs $35 for a vehicle, and $20 for individuals entering the park on foot or by bicycle.
Don’t worry if you end up spending too long in the park. Yellowstone has several restaurants and convenient stops where you can get a break from sightseeing.
Yerevan is a wonderful destination for those looking to experience something new on a budget. The city is a mess of contradictions where the old-world Armenian culture meets modern Armenian and European influences.
Every city block has some mixture of the chic new styles of globalization and the older architecture and culture that’s been passed down.
You’ll have the option of staying in up-scale hotels or more affordable hostels, although both options are usually considered affordable for international travelers.
Or, consider signing up for one of the many city and country tours. The tours are usually a week or longer, and cost about the same as an affordable cruise ticket. Unlike a cruise, however, you’ll be able to really get a taste of Armenian culture, not to mention the amazing cuisine.
If you’re looking to spend your vacation down under, or just want to help Australia’s economy after the bush fires in 2019, Brisbane is the place for you. A little off the beaten path, you’ll find fewer tourists here than in Sydney, but just as much to do.
Brisbane is filled with hotels and hostels since it’s a popular hiking and intermediary destination. You should plan on about $115 a night for a hotel or $20 a night in a hostel. Restaurants average $20-30 for a meal. But there are fine dining options for a little more or street food for anyone on the go.
Make sure to hit the Cultural Center for a taste of Queensland’s culture and history. Then hop over to the koala sanctuary to see some of Australia’s most beloved wildlife and learn more about ongoing conservation efforts.
Despite the travel warnings, Guatemala is an incredibly accessible, affordable, and fun place for a summer vacation.
For a taste of city life and culture, you’ll want to make sure to include colonial Antigua in your trip’s itinerary. But, despite affordable hotels, fantastic restaurants, and an interesting nightlife, you should try to make it our of the city for a while as well.
Head over to Lake Atitlan to see one of the best views out there. The lake and surrounding city just frame the incredible view of a nearby volcano.
Oh, and don’t forget to make a trip to Tikal. The ancient city is one of the most incredible Mayan cities open to the public, and you don’t want to miss it.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan is one of the more exotic places you could find yourself. The beautiful island of Puerto Rico is filled with fantastic views, soft-sand beaches, and cultural experiences.
It’s also an affordable place to visit. Much of the economy relies on tourism, which means that the island has a vested interest in making vacations here fun, affordable, and unforgettable.
Some people are nervous about visiting due to the weather, but weather predictions are getting better all the time, and the island is built to withstand the worst the ocean can throw at it.
So spend some time here visiting the Bacardi Distillery, kayaking around the San Juan Bay, or taking a scuba tour off the island coasts.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Another fantastic cultural location, Hoi An is actually a world heritage site thanks to the incredible preservation of its original 15th-19th century architecture. This city was a huge site of trade throughout the first wave of global international sea trade.
Though, you will have to approach the city by road after flying into Hoh Chi Minh City or another of Vietnam’s bigger cities.
Visit the Ancient town to experience the mix of cultures and times that have been preserved in Hoi An and nowhere else in the world. You’ll see Chinese, Japanese, and French influences and historic architecture, mixed in with the native Vietnamese architecture and culture.
Or, spend time in the museums and temples all around Hoi An. When you’re ready for a break away from the crowds, take advantage of the beautiful local beaches.
Bar Harbor, Maine, The United States
Near Acadia national park, Bar Harbor is a perfect family destination. It’s also a great place for anyone looking to experience a quieter New England getaway. Filled with restaurants (and bars), and with plenty to do both on land and water, this is the perfect place to check off some bucket list goals.
Visit the mountains or lighthouses in Acadia, well worth a few days on its own. With tours of the city and surrounding town for foodies, naturalists, and the generally curious, there’s more to do than you’ll ever be able to pack into a single trip.
Make sure to spend at least a day or two out on the water, on an island cruise or a kayaking tour of the coastline.
Niagara Falls, New York, The United States
There are tons of vacation hotels, motels, hostels, and bed and breakfast options in this popular vacation destination. But, despite the natural beauty and draw of the Niagara Falls themselves, this is still an affordable destination.
Oh, and if you love the outdoors, you can save even more by camping in the incredible wilderness surrounding the city!
Head over to the state park to see the falls on the USA side of the border, or take your passport with you and see all three of the famous Niagara Falls and cross over to Canada for part of your trip.
Not to mention the local Aquarium and the Six Flags amusement park that also call this city home.
Of course, no affordable summer vacation trip list would be complete without Thailand making an appearance. This country is full of the kind of cultural experiences you can only get through international travel, offers a thriving nightlife, and is a popular destination for people all over the globe.
But that popularity hasn’t made it unaffordable.
Visit the southern Elephant sanctuaries, visit the country’s several island destinations, and indulge in the luxurious street food on every corner. Best of all, your delicious serving of pad Thai can cost as little $1-3 USD depending on where you are in the country.
Planning on visiting the beautiful Thai temples? Bring appropriate clothing. You can’t show a lot of skin and expect to be allowed in a temple. You should also read up on local customs and the custom of keeping face.
Being familiar with the differences in polite behavior will make your trip that much more enjoyable. Oh. And unless you’re a true lover of spice (and maybe even if you are!) be sure to order your meals mild.
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