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8 International Trips Under $2,000
Itching to travel abroad? Check out these diverse and affordable spots across the globe.
You can visit these exciting destinations without emptying your wallet.(Getty Images)
If you haven't had the chance to embark on an exotic, far-flung trip this year, you're in luck. With a strong U.S. dollar, growing competition among discount carriers and a volatile global economy, Americans can explore exciting destinations without emptying their wallets. And while it's easy to beat the exchange rate in many European locales thanks to the declining value of the euro and the pound compared to the dollar, there are plenty of other inexpensive regions worth exploring in 2016. We spoke with industry experts to track down eight vacation spots offering low-priced flights and affordable lodging options, so you can optimize value as you crisscross the globe.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Landing a low-cost flight to Vancouver is a cinch from San Francisco International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport, explains Clem Bason, CEO of hotel deal site goSeek.com, highlighting that Kayak currently shows round-trip flights starting at around $200 in September. Matthew Ma, a co-founder of booking site TheFlightDeal.com, echoes similar sentiments, noting that Vancouver is "one of the cheapest destinations in Canada to fly to," with round-trip rates consistently under $400 from major hubs across the East Coast. And thanks to the advantageous exchange rate against the Canadian dollar, it's easy to nab budget-friendly accommodations. Currently, goSeek is showing nightly rates at four-star hotels along the harbor, like the Pinnacle Hotel, for under $200 from Sept. 10-17. Plus, Vancouver offers ample ways to enjoy its outdoor splendors, with versatile free attractions, including Stanley Park and Granville Island.
Now is an ideal time to visit Scandinavian countries, including Sweden, Denmark and Norway, Ma says. Oftentimes, flights will drop to around $300 round trip from top hubs along the East and West coasts, he explains, noting that competition among low-cost carriers such as Icelandair and Wow Air have created steeply discounted flight prices to top destinations across the pond. Currently, travel deal site Cheapflights.com shows round-trip flights from New York City hubs to Stockholm for $500 and round-trip flights starting at around $520 from LAX in September. Plus, luxury travel site Jetsetter.com currently shows nightly rates at high-end accommodations, like the Hotel Rival, starting at $181 from Sept. 16-18. During your visit, don't miss checking out Stockholm's free attractions, including Gamla Stan and Rosendals Garden.
Toronto is an enticing choice for American visitors thanks to an advantageous exchange rate and exceedingly low airfares. Cheapflights.com shows direct, round-trip routes available from New York City hubs for under $200 and round-trip direct flights from LAX available for less than $450 in September. Plus, you can enjoy a short flight, making it easy to plan a spur-of-the-moment weekend getaway to Toronto, says Amanda Festa, a content and social media executive at Cheapflights. What's more, currently goSeek.com shows four-star hotels for two guests at around $100 or less per night from Sept. 16-18.
If you're yearning to relax along Bermuda's iconic pink-sand beaches or explore unique spots, like historic St. George's, it's easy to pull off a quick and affordable weekend escape this fall. According to Cheapflights.com, direct round-trip flights start at around $215 from New York City hubs in September; direct flights from Boston start at around $350. From the West Coast, Cheapflights shows round-trip fares from Burbank, California, under $500 during the same time period. And while Bermuda typically experiences a high demand through October, this year, you can land a bargain at upscale hotels. Jetsetter.com currently shows nightly rates at luxury resort Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, a Fairmont Managed Hotel starting at $374 from Sept. 16-18.
In the last two years, Cathay Pacific and a variety of major airlines introduced new flights from the U.S. to Hong Kong, Ma explains, expanding capacity and enabling prices to drop as seats needed to be filled. "When you have all this excess capacity, [flights] become very affordable," he says. Recently, Ma says he's seen prices drop to around $500 round trip from popular airports across the U.S. And Cheapflights shows similar findings, with direct round-trip routes from LAX starting at $500 and direct round-trip routes from major Chicago hubs for less than $650 throughout September. Plus, Kayak currently shows nightly rates for four-star hotels in Hong Kong starting at $156 from Sept. 16-18, making it easy to save on high-end accommodations. What's more, you'll find a wealth of free cultural attractions to pique your interest, from vibrant street markets to the iconic Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade.
With a mix of upscale and budget-friendly resorts, the Bahamas gives travelers a variety of options, says Festa. In mid-September, you can secure round-trip flights for under $425 from Chicago to Nassau, or check out less-trodden areas like Exuma for just over $500 round trip, according to findings from Cheapflights. And unlike other popular Caribbean locales, the Bahamas is not currently impacted by the Zika virus, making the area an ideal place to plan a worry-free getaway. Even better, Jetsetter.com shows the Pelican Bay Hotel in Freeport starting at $133 a night from Sept. 16-19. And for travelers seeking an adventurous off-the-grid escape, the Bahamas offers plenty of history- and culture-packed destinations beyond Paradise Island, Festa adds.
Despite its reputation as a cost-prohibitive city, London (for now, anyway) is an ideal place for the frugal traveler. Thanks to a brewing fare war between budget airlines, such as Norwegian Air and Wow Air, American jet-setters can take advantage of steeply discounted flight tickets, Festa says. Flightdeals shows round-trip airfares starting at around $600 from Boston's Logan International Airport to London's Gatwick Airport in September and round-trip journeys from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to London's Heathrow Airport for as low as $625 for the same time period. You can also maximize savings by booking a package deal. Expedia is currently offering three-night vacation packages that include airfare and three-star accommodations starting at around $800 per person in September. During your visit, don't skip exploring can't-miss attractions that won't cost you a pound, such as the British Museum and Portobello Road Market.
Many European destinations are offering excellent deals for American visitors right now, with an incredible exchange rate (1 euro currently equals $1.11 U.S.), but Spain is a particularly attractive destination for bargain hunters thanks to its cheap airfares, Bason says. Kayak currently shows round-trip flights from New York City hubs to Barcelona starting at $550 in September. Plus, it's easy to find affordable accommodations and explore fascinating culture, art, architecture and cuisine without bursting your budget. Bason recommends checking out three-star properties across the city or seeking out a vacation rental through reputable sites, like Airbnb. From Sept. 10-17, "prices start at $100 a night for a home or apartment, and only $35 a night for a shared room," he says.