If you’re starting to feel like you’re in a rut and work has you stressing out, then maybe it’s time for a change. Sometimes, the only thing you really need to rejuvenate – besides a trip to the spa – is a quick trip away. Nothing is better for finding yourself again than going somewhere new. Don’t start planning that trip to a theme park or your sister’s house again. The goal is to break out of your same groove and do something different. Discover a new city and discover new things about yourself and your family in the process. The top 10 budget destinations for 2013 will definitely get you thinking about things in a different way.
This photo of Toronto Island Park is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Our neighbors to the north have something to show you beyond their incredible hospitality. Not only is Toronto full of history, which is a fun way to get some education in for those traveling with kids, but it also has a ton of beautiful open spaces to be explored. You can even spend the day at the beach! It may not be the “put on your bikini and lay out” kind of beach, but there is surf, sand and plenty of shops. The Beaches is a hidden gem of Toronto, so it is rarely overcrowded and especially not with tourists.
Turkey is just becoming a well-known tourist destination. The affordability is drawing travelers from all over the world. While they are all off discovering the cave dwellings of Cappadocia, you can be sightseeing off the coast of the Mediterranean. If that’s not exotic-sounding enough, you can tell all your friends you’ll be lounging along the Turkish Riviera, browsing the colorful and lively bazaars, visiting Roman ruins and hot air ballooning over breathtaking scenery. Antalya gets over 300 days of sunshine and even the winters are comfortable, so whenever you go, you won’t have to pack your carry-on full of bulky clothing.
This photo of Chateau de Brou is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Loire Valley, France
Get away from the hustle and bustle of busy (and tourist-filled) Paris by spending your time in the Cradle of the French Language. Loire Valley is the perfect getaway for those who love the country, amazing food and a good glass of wine. With so much of the grand architecture still standing, you’ll feel like royalty everywhere you go in this area of central France. If you’re looking for an affordable romantic vacation, then you will want to start planning your trip now, because what more could you want out of time with your sweetie than relaxing at a little bistro after strolling through a fruit orchard right outside of a historic town?
Palm Springs, California
While not as exotic as much of the rest of this list, and known mostly for their golfing, Palm Springs is a nature-lovers’ desert oasis. From hiking, horseback riding and swimming, there is something for everyone who loves to be outside. Steeped in Native American and Mexican culture, the city is now a resort paradise that draws regular travelers and celebrities alike. You can find great deals on accommodations, entertainment and even dining and spa services. Whatever you’re looking for, you can find it – and find it for less – in the desert of Palm Springs.
This photo of Holiday Inn Resort Phi Phi Island is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
The Phi Phi islands are where you want to go when you have a tropical locale on the brain. Thailand is notoriously budget-friendly, but most recreational travelers don’t know much about the islands. Ko Phi Phi is becoming a more widely known secret, because it offers everything one could want from an island getaway: beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and perfect
for diving and snorkeling. Tourism plays a big part in the economy of Ko Phi Phi and they have rebuilt a more luxurious island experience since the devastation of 2004’s tsunami. You’ll find resorts and restaurants that cater specifically to those looking for a true island experience – in between kayaking and laying out, that is.
Known mostly for producing the majority of country music superstars, Nashville might surprise you as being a metropolitan city with so much more to offer besides Taylor Swift and the Dixie Chicks. Did you know that it is also the hometown of Ke$ha? It’s true! You’ll find amazing southern history around Nashville, including Civil War plantations. These grandiose homes are both awe-inspiring and educational. There’s no better way to learn about significant times in American history than to go right to the source. You can top off your days with down-home southern meals out and a vibrant nightlife full of all types of music.
This photo of Walking Tours of Belfast & N. Ireland is courtesy of TripAdvisor
After decades of religious battles, Northern Ireland has recently calmed down and become more of a travel destination as the Republic of Ireland. It is one of the poorest economies in the UK, which makes it the most affordable for visitors. If you love sports, then you’ll be able to enjoy watching football, rugby and cricket and also engage in some spectacular golfing as well. Ireland is one of those places that makes you feel like you’re walking in a fairy tale with the rolling hills and lush greenery everywhere. Add that to being pretty much oceanside in many big towns and you’ve got yourself a beautiful and picturesque getaway.
For a more unique European vacation, the Slovak Republic will definitely fit the bill. Not many travelers – outside of backpackers – really think about Slovakia as a preferred destination. It has only gained its independence in the last 20 years and is still finding itself as a tourist spot. The country features wonderful medieval architecture and natural attractions like caves, mountains and lavish green spaces. Even though you may not know anything about Slovakia, it is an incredibly romantic country with its historical landscape dotted with castles. You’ll find old-fashioned and rustic souvenirs to bring home, like ceramics, wooden serving pieces, glass and homemade dolls in traditional dress. It’s certainly made for a vacation to remember.
This photo of Diniwid Beach is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Boracay Island, the Philippines
Wouldn’t you like to visit the “best island in the world”? Travel + Leisure Magazine bestowed this title on Borocay in 2012, which means you know it’s a wonderful place for a vacation. The small island is a magnet for travelers of all kinds, including those who aren’t made of money. Previous visitors claim Borocay is so awesome because you can travel like a VIP on a budget. No matter what time of year you visit, you will always bring a bag full of summer clothes with you. You can fill all that empty space with your snorkel gear, as that is one of the best things to do off the coast, in addition to kiteboarding, scuba diving, windsurfing and cliff diving. The only time the weather isn’t ideal is during a tropical storm, but even then it can still be warm. Pack a rain jacket and you’re good to go!
If you’re looking for a tropical getaway that is closer to home, then the Bahamas with its turquoise waters and white sandy beaches might be calling your name. Whether you’re excited to lay on the beach drinking something with an umbrella in it or more adventurous and willing to explore underwater gardens, then you will find something for you. The native Bahamians are so welcoming to visitors that you may never want to leave. If beach activities don’t really thrill you, that’s okay. Visit botanical gardens and historical forts from the time when pirates tried to take the islands for themselves. You’ll also experience some of the most interesting and delicious seafood you’ll find anywhere as well as see amazing animals that are native to the islands.
As you can see, there is a huge range of economical destinations to choose from that are further from you than your normal vacation options. They are totally different and will immerse you in cultures you maybe weren’t aware you were missing out on. No matter your budget, you can always find an exotic getaway that suits your needs and wallet. Doesn't this make you excited to start planning your 2013 vacation? I know I am totally looking forward to another trip, wherever it is! Where will you be going in the coming year?