Short on cash but still craving a vacation?We at Bundle.com talked to April D. Thompson, travel marketing consultant and founder of the blog AbsoluteTravelAddict.com, and Deborah Peniuk, owner of the health/wellness travel agency AYA Life, about affordable travel destinations you may not have considered. Here’s a look at their top picks.
American tourists flock to France and Spain but many overlook Portugal’s Old World charms. Thompson recommends Lisbon, which offers cultural attractions like the Berardo Collection Museum (which is free) and the Castelo de São Jorge, a Medieval castle overlooking the city. Thompson says Lisbon’s hotels and restaurants offer some of the best values in Western Europe and the city’s public transportation means there’s no need to rent a car. “You can get theLisboa Card which is a discount card that offers deep discounts to many sights and free public transportation,” she adds. For adventure or food-minded travellers, Peniuk suggests exploring Portugal’s Azores Islands, where accommodations and excursions can be even cheaper than Lisbon.
2. San Diego, California
Although San Diego has a reputation as a party destination, Peniuk says the city has branched out in recent years. “You’ve got water attractions (SeaWorld San Diego is a popular one) and water sports, great beaches and easy access to California’s major highways if you want to use San Diego as your home base,” she says. Hotels in San Diego are often cheaper than in Los Angeles, but you can still take a day trip to the City of Angels without paying LA hotel rates.
3. Kansas City, Missouri
Peniuk says Kansas City is an under-rated travel destination that offers great BBQ restaurants and beautiful art galleries. Cultural attractions include theKauffman centre for the Performing Arts and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. History buffs may want to check out historic Westport or the Lone Jack Civil War Battlefield Museum. The area also boasts “a lot of convention hotels where you can often get great bargains,” adds Peniuk.
4. Portland, Jamaica
Other parts of Jamaica may be more popular with tourists, but according to Thompson, “you can find very great deals in Portland because it’s not as frequented.” The area was once a favourite destination among wealthy families from the UK, so it features large, awe-inspiring architecture. Sun yourself on a free public beach like Winnifred Beach or soak up the views at Reach Falls, one of Jamaica’s most picturesque waterfalls. Thompson says most visitors fly into Montego Bay or Kingston, but the drive to Portland offer breathtaking views along the way.
5. Atlanta, Georgia
Thompson calls Atlanta “the New York of the south without New York prices.” This bustling Southern city features attractions like World of Coke, Centennial Olympic Park (which offers free jazz concerts and other events), and theworld’s largest aquarium. Outdoor enthusiasts might enjoy hiking the mountains in Northern Georgia or tubing on the Chattahoochee River. Thompson suggests looking outside Atlanta’s downtown area for the best hotel values.