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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Planning for Your 2018 Vacations

If you're like me, you start planning your next trip the second you get back from one. Of course, maybe you aren't like me. I tend to have my destinations picked out years in advance, because there are so many places I want to go and I have a life plan. I know there are lots of people not like me, but if you want a head start on planning an amazing, and budget friendly, 2018 vacation, I've got some ideas for you.

Now, I'm still planning on my ultimate Harry Potter trip to Philadelphia in 2018, but I'm a nerd and also am saving up for Europe and another trip to Disney World. Here's where you might want to go instead:


Stay in a beachfront hotel for $20 or under, or choose an upscale one for around $75. You'd pay four times as much (at least) in the States. Spend your days lazing in the sun on the beach, chowing down on delicious local dishes - you must try Belizean chicken - and exploring Mayan ruins. Definitely pack shorts and definitely bring your camera. If you love to dive, Belize has some of the best diving spots in the world. And if you like to drink, cocktails will only set you back $1-2.

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How many places can you go and spend only $20 for a room? La Paz offers that to travelers as well as historical culture everywhere you look. Street vendors sell traditional foods that you can nosh on for cheap while exploring the city. Save your money to make purchases in the open-air markets and to splurge on a fancy dinner out.

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Czech Republic

Prague is totally walkable and steeped in so much culture and history that free walking tours are the way to go. Tip your guide well and learn more than you ever expected. You'll find beauty around every corner and amazing photo ops. Go out early in the morning to avoid most of the crowds, then head outside of Old Town to save on delicious dishes as well. Try the street food while you're out sightseeing, just be sure when you're out and about seeing all the awesome stuff that you keep an eye on your wallet.

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Do a bit of prep before going on your trip, so you know how to get around and don't look too lost, as locals will try to get your money for "guiding" you through the city. Get a comfy and lovely room in a riad (a hotel) for around $40, including breakfast, or opt for something a little less fancy for closer to $10 per night. A meal for two will cost you about the same, which means you can spend your time and money elsewhere, like the markets and museums. Take an affordable day trip out to the desert or to nearby waterfalls.

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One dollar here will buy you over 8,000 kips (the local currency), and everything is dirt cheap. You won't have to look far if you want to relax and a bungalow overlooking the Mekong River may only cost you $5 a night. Food is even cheaper, meaning the most you'll spend is on the airfare to get there. And possibly on sunscreen. Head over to Cambodia for a somewhat different vibe. They take American dollars, unlike Laos, but it stretches pretty far as well.

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It's easy to travel cheaply in Spain, especially if you head to the Southern side, where the sun is in abundance, and bars serve amazing tapas for quite a bit less than you'd expect. Take self-guided walking tours (or search for free ones online that only cost a tip to your guide). The government sponsored free concerts and fairs, plus many museums offer free admission.

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Sure, you could go splash out on a spendy trip to London, or even Ireland or Scotland, but Wales is like the Taco Bell of the UK, but without the guilt. Hotels can be cheap, but you can spend a little more and save elsewhere by doing free activities: hike along the coast, go on a few historic walks that include a castle (or two!), or just take an actual tour of a medieval castle, as many only charge $10 or so for admission. 

Now that you have a whole new list of budget travel destinations, where will you go next year?

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