Ever close your eyes and spin the globe? It's fun. Destination inspiration is something I struggle with regularly. Thanks to a few morons around the world leading countries into disaster, there are more dirt cheap destinations for your finger to land on than ever and others which are simply overlooked for more "pop culture" retreats. Forgetting North Korea, there are spectacular places to visit on all continents peppered in culture, sun and history that you simply cannot overlook, especially given the dwindling exchange rate and increased desire for tourism. As a points and miles genius who clearly got a good deal and a good seat on their flight, being able to add a star or two to your nightly accommodations and meals for less makes the deal even sweeter.
Argentina is a steal right now. City, sun, mountains, history it's all there. Argentina's currency has crashed and there is an overwhelming desire (and blue market discount) for dollars and strong foreign currencies. How can you pass up five star hotels and Michelin restaurants (not to mention superb wine) for less than you would pay for three star accommodations elsewhere. TheFlightDeal recently illustrated fares for less than $600 from New York to Buenos Aires round trip. Steak, wine and a staple of South American culture have never sounded better.
Since I don't want to have an untimely Plutonium poisoning related death, we can leave the reasons for Russia being cheap aside. St. Petersburg is Russia's grand dame of culture, history and cuisine. Though I've never been I would be fascinated to get a glimpse into this increasingly elusive world. There are increasingly competitive fares from Europe and the US and much like Argentina, five star hotels are at historic lows. This is one of those "who knows" where they will be in a few years or whether it will still be possible so for historic reasons alone, it could be neat to go.
If you like blue sea, warm weather, volcanoes and breathtaking sunsets we can probably get along alright. There is no comparison to the unique color palate and stunning topography found in Greece. With so many islands offering so many different takes on natural beauty, good wine and good food, the hardest part is figuring out how many islands you can afford to hop, not if you want to hop them! Thanks to a few idiots who promised free dinners to anyone that voted, the country is more welcoming (and affordable) than it has been in recent history. Villas, pools and sunsets? Ok.
Morocco is an incredible opportunity to feel like you are in the movie Aladdin. The colors are vibrant, the food is unique and certain elements bring you back to another simpler time in history. From the Jemaa el'Fnaa and Atlas Mountains inland to the panoramic fishing villages further west there is something for everyone. Like all far reaching destinations, if you are going to make the trek, I highly advise "open jawing" and seeing two different cities. Perhaps Casablanca or Tangier and Marrakesh? It's neat to experience authentic tagine cooking and spices right from their origin!
Sometimes called little Paris, Budapest offers travelers looking to explore Europe a much more affordable take with equally (if not more) breathtaking views. Though the movie "The Grand Budapest Hotel" was set in a fictitious country, elements of that old world charm are evident across the city in real life with rolling rivers, colorful old buildings and a sophisticated and thriving nightlife. An added bonus, getting to Hungary you will almost certainly need to build in a stopover allowing you to have a day or two in another European gateway en route.
My sister just returned from an incredible trip to Cape Town. Though you couldn't pay me to jump in with the Great White's as she did, I'd be very happy trekking along the cliffside hikes overlooking the ocean or visiting their bountiful vineyards. South Africa is regularly rated as one of the best budget travel destinations and though it can be a stretch to reach, I can't think of any place on earth with more natural beauty.
Avoiding peak travel or peak destinations virtually always equals savings. Combining overlooked destinations with dwindling currencies means true luxury at budget prices. You really can't go wrong.
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