10 Budget-Friendly Places to Visit This Summer



Most travelers to Central America choose Costa Rica as their destination of choice with its pristine beaches and adventure thrills. But budget-friendly Nicaragua offers some of the same thrills and the cheapest beaches in the Caribbean region. The country has volcanoes, rivers, and rainforests for travelers looking for adventure. Long considered a destination only for backpackers, new hotels and eco-lodges are popping up around the country, which is on the brink of becoming a new tourism magnet. Before that happens, enjoy its cheap thrills while you can.

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In recent years tourism to Greece has taken a hit because of its economic woes. But like an ancient Greek tale -- the country is rising from the ashes on a quest to conquer its foes. Record spending by foreigners last year helped the country post an account surplus of about $1.7 billion, its first since 1948. Tourism rose 15 percent last year, central bank figures show. That’s because prices for everything from hotels to car hires have been slashed to attract more visitors. But hurry -- more than 18 million tourists are expected to visit Greece this year.

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The South American nation topped TravelZoo’s recent list of “Wow Deal Destinations for 2014” based on recent trends, industry projections and buzz. And the country certainly has a lot going for it. Famed for the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador’s mainland has a lot to offer as well. The nation is one of the most biodiverse nations in the world with more than 1,600 species of birds and 4,000 different orchids. In fact, one-fifth of Ecuador is protected. Quito, its capital, just opened a new international airport in 2013 and a new train just started operations. Over the next four years, Ecuador plans to invest $600 million in tourism. Go and enjoy the diversity of Ecuador before it becomes a tourism powerhouse and prices start go kick up.

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The British Post Office has named Ablufeira in the Algarve -- the southernmost region of mainland Portugal -- as the cheapest choice for a summer family vacation. For budget-conscious travelers hoping for a European getaway, Portugal is an excellent choice. Its capital city of Lisbon offers wonderfully hilly views, interesting history, as well as great cuisine. A vacation in Portugal will cost you far less euros than other top European spots like neighboring Spain, France, or Great Britain.

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If you avoid the tourist-friendly resorts in places like Cancun, you’ll find that there’s a lot of value in a visit to Mexico. You can find affordable beach towns north of Puerto Vallarta and even in the Yucatan Peninsula, there are more affordable options to see the Mayan wonders in places like Tulum or Merida. If you’re looking to spend time in a big city, it doesn’t get any bigger than Mexico City. With more than 50,000 hotel rooms, a buzzing dining scene, and excellent shopping, the city has a lot to offer travelers.

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In 2013, the rupee fell in value by more than 20 percent against the dollar. While it won’t necessarily be cheap to fly to India, once you are on the ground you’ll save on costs. Many major hotel chains are preparing to open properties in the nation, which means room rates should become more affordable. If you’re looking for a beach destination, India’s Karnataka region offers plenty of fishing and serene resorts.

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According to Hotels.com, hotel prices in Warsaw were down nearly 20 percent In 2013. As the capital of Poland, Warsaw offers a lot of value for tourists interested in history. You can explore its reconstructed old town, see the beautiful gardens in Lazienki Park, and visit the powerful Uprising Museum. In the summer, if you visit Lazienki Park on the weekends you’ll be treated to a free piano concert held near the statue of Chopin.

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A recent survey by the discount travel site Hotwire found that deal-conscious travelers find Atlanta to be the best destination for low prices. With an interesting history, world-class aquarium, and endless Southern charm, it’s no wonder why more than 35 million visitors head to the Georgia capital each year. If you’re looking for a family-friendly vacation, Atlanta offers a wide range of entertainment and activities, such as biking through Piedmont park and visiting theme parks.

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With hotel rates down 9 percent, Seoul is a great option for visitors hoping to visit East Asia. While Tokyo regularly ranks as one of the most expensive travel destinations in the world, Seoul is a more affordable trip with just as much fashion, technology, and delicious food to keep travelers happy. The city has an excellent transportation system for users to get around, so there won’t be as much money spent on traveling around. Plus, there are tons of affordable hotels for visitors. With K-Pop growing in popularity and efforts to restore Joseon Dynasty buildings continuing, it’s a great time to check out South Korea’s capital.

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According to Hotels.com, hotel prices are down 7 percent in Orlando, making this a more affordable travel destination this summer. Hotels and airlines often jockey to attract more business, so you’re likely to find cheaper accommodation and flights. Of course, there are the big theme parks located in the Florida city: Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld. Visiting one or two of those parks might eat into your budget, so be careful about how you spend your money. Beyond the parks, there are eco-tours, spas, a botanical garden, sophisticated shopping, and great wine bars to entertain you.

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