If ‘travel more’ is at the top of your goals list, you’re onto a good thing. Research shows that people who spend their hard-earned cash on experiences are far happier than those who splash it on materialistic things.
However, when your bank balance seems to be stuck in the triple digits, it can make it a little tricky to do so! Thankfully, the travel experts at CheapAir.com have published a list of the 10 most budget-friendly destinations to visit in 2018 — so you can book your next vacay without having to eat two-minute noodles for dinner every night.
The list is mainly geared towards those in the US, but if you’re one of our Aussie readers, don’t despair — many of the destinations are even cheaper for us to visit! Read on for the affordable holiday spots to add to your 2018 travel list.
Introducing Europe’s best-kept secret (well, until now!) The Balkan country is filled with stunning beaches, rugged mountain ranges and relaxing hot springs — and it won’t even cost you an arm and a leg to get there!
“Flight prices for early 2018 are trending cheaper than they were last year into Madrid and Barcelona,” CheapAir CEO Jeff Klee says. Flights to Madrid from LAX start at about $450 and $500 from JFK.
3. San Francisco, California
San Francisco isn’t exactly where you think of when you think cheap — it’s garnered a bit of a reputation for being the most expensive place to live in the US (if not the world!) But according to CheapAir, it’s a lot more affordable to visit due to cheap flights within the US and the fact that most of the attractions are free.
For us Aussies, Thailand has long been known as a beautiful place you can visit on a budget (thanks to its close proximity!) But it’s also becoming more affordable for those in the Northern hemisphere — according CheapAir, flights to Thailand from LAX start at just under $500 and around $640 from JFK.
5. Las Vegas, Nevada
Okay, so a The Hangover-esque night of debauchery in Sin City probably isn’t going to be too kind on your wallet. But getting there isn’t actually too expensive, with most US airlines offering cheap flights all year around. CheapAir says flights from LAX start at $79 and JFK from $236.
6. Washington DC
While in the current political climate many would prefer to stay as far away from the US capital as possible, it makes for a budget-friendly trip — with flights to Washington D.C. from LAX starting at just under $200 and from $127 at JFK. Many of the monuments are free, too! Plus, the breathtaking cherry blossoms make it a trip definitely worth taking.
While flights to India aren’t all that cheap if you’re in the US (they start from around $600) the affordable cost of living makes it one of the world’s cheapest international vacation destinations. And from the colourful streets of Mumbai to the sensational beaches of Goa and majesty of the Taj Mahal, it’s definitely one worth adding to your bucket list.
CheapAir calls this Central American country the next “up-and-coming hot vacation spot” and with its unique colonial architecture, volcanic landscapes and gorgeous beaches, it’s not hard to see why. It also happens to be rather affordable, as flying from Managua from LAX starts at $365 and $415 from JFK.
9. Namibia, Africa
If you’re keen to do some lion-spotting but don’t want to go bankrupt to do it, Namibia is the place to go. While getting to the southwest African country will cost you (flights to the capital, Windhoek, start from $950 at LAX and $1,000 from JFK), it’s the cheapest place to go on safari, due to the relatively low tourist rates. Oh, and don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe due to achieving independence 30 years ago.
10. New Zealand
According to CheapAir, it’s now more affordable than ever for Americans to experience the natural beauty of New Zealand. “Current exchange rates make [it] very attractive for the U.S. traveler, offering better value than in past years,” Jeff Klee says. Flights to Auckland from LAX start at $940 and $1,200 from JFK. For us Aussies, we can snap up return flights for as little as $200!