If you’ve done any travelling at all lately, you know that it’s not exactly a cheap vacation. After flights, hotels and food, there’s little left in the wallet for attractions, excursions and even souvenirs. According to Hotels.com, the cost is why so many Canadians travelling on a budget turn to all-inclusive packages where one payment can take care of it all. While that set-up is great for some, the downside is that staying within resort grounds may mean missing out on authentic experiences and culture the destination has to offer.
So what’s an explorer, on a budget, to do? Well, it turns out you can have the best of both worlds. Hotels.com has sorted through its Hotel Price Index to find eight interesting destinations where you can have an authentic cultural experience without going broke.
Let me know if you’ve visited any of these destinations, and how your wallet held up. (All amounts in Canadian dollars.)
City: Hanoi, Vietnam
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $66
Why go? This nature-filled city is full of classic architecture, culture and great silks. Who’d have guessed? If you’re an adventurous foodie, the local cuisine may be an enjoyable challenge where cobra is a popular menu item. Hotels in this city experienced price drops of 14 per cent from 2011, making it an affordable option.
City: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $67
Why go? Another city that experienced a significant drop in hotel prices, Siem Reap is known for its friendly locals and exotic temples. There’s a lot to do and it may be hard to pick just a few, but a boat tour of Kampong Phluk Floating Village is a must-see.
City: Reno, Nevada, United States
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $74
Why go? Many may have been to Las Vegas, but how many of us can say we’ve gambled in Reno? This is another 24-hour city that’ll satisfy any gambler’s desires. For those with a passion for more than cards and tables, this city’s location is perfect for active travellers who can indulge in all-season sports and ski in the morning, and kayak in the afternoon.
City: Pattaya, Thailand
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $81
Why go? If you’re looking to party, you won’t be disappointed here. Located only 90 minutes from Bangkok, Pattaya is the go-to spot for nightlife and beaches. Hotel prices in this city dropped 8 per cent from 2011, which can only mean one thing – more money for shopping!
City: San Jose, Costa Rica
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $89
Why go? If you’re into museums, San Jose has one for everything. Well, not everything, but gold, jade and insects are covered. If you’d rather get outside, plan a visit to the jungle or Poas Volcano National Park to view its impressive craters.
City: Sacramento, California, United States
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $96
Why go? Skip the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles and head to Sacramento where for four months of the year it’s considered the sunniest place on earth. If that alone hasn’t sold you, a visit to Old Sacramento might. Travel back in American history, check out some 19th century buildings and take a ride on a historic train or riverboat.
City: Moerfelden-Walldorf, Germany
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $98
Why go? Located near Frankfurt airport, this scenic town is surrounded by forest and features pretty half-timbered houses, churches and a historic water tower that is often featured in postcards. It may not be as big as Berlin, but the town has plenty to experience with fifteen different festivals throughout the year.
City: Valencia, Spain
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $104
Why go? Grand Prix, La Tomatina, paella and 300 days of sunshine we’re sold. A visit to this classic Spanish city is sure to impress. Plus it’s affordable with hotel rates dropping a reported 17 per cent from 2011.
It’s time to experience destinations like a local. With so much to see and do and so little time off work, make a resolution to get in some real travel this year – the buffets and wristbands won’t be missed, promise.