8 Trips You Didn’t Know You Could Afford in 2019

Your next vacation might not be as expensive as you think. In some of the destinations below, the U.S. dollar will go further in 2019, with unexpectedly reasonable rates for lodging, activities, and dining; in others, I’ve unearthed hidden gems that are actually affordable. And while the cost of flights is never as low as most travelers want it to be, I’ve even found budget-friendly flights to many of these spots. Plan your next escape to one of these surprisingly cheap places to travel.

Hawaii

garden in hawaii
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Affordable airfare is making the everyman’s bucket list trip a reality for 2019 (and we’re not just talking about flights from the West Coast). According to Airfarewatchdog, SmarterTravel’s sister site, some flights to Hawaii actually cost less than $500 from East Coast and Midwest cities in 2018. The reason? Multiple major airlines announced new routes to Hawaii, creating fierce competition for the best fares—a trend that’s expected to continue in 2019.

Hawaiian Airlines will soon offer Basic Economy fares, while budget carrier Southwest Airlines is expected to launch service to Hawaii soon. And while you can easily spend a pretty penny at luxury resorts, you can just as easily save with vacation rental properties steps from the beach.

Where to stay: Enjoy affordable accommodations at the Aston Waikiki Circle Hotel, located across the street from world-famous Waikiki Beach in Honolulu.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Kuala Lumpur and other parts of Malaysia offer an exotic vacation destination with a not-so-exotic price tag. “Although the country is relatively more well developed than its neighbors around Southeast Asia, the Malaysian capital has some of the world’s cheapest rates for five-star hotels,” says travel blogger Bino Chua of I Wander. You can stay at luxe hotels for under $200 a night—and at three- or four-stars for even less.

Currently, one Malaysian ringgit is equal to 24 US cents, which means your dollar will go a long way when it comes to meals and activities, too. And in many cases, you won’t even need to pull out your wallet—admission-free museums, walking tours, religious sites, and parks make it easy to save. As for transportation, “a 10- to 15-minute car ride within Kuala Lumpur will cost around $3 USD (or even less),” says Chua. If you hop on one of the purple GO KL buses, you’ll pay nothing.

Where to stay: You can regularly find rates under $100 per night at the newly opened Hyatt House Kuala Lumpur, which offers accommodations with kitchens and complimentary breakfast.

London, England

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London is calling in 2019. “The fall in the value of the British pound means foreign visitors get more bang for their buck when visiting the U.K., with competitive prices on hotels, attractions, and shopping,” says Freddie Julius of Tourist England. “The U.K.’s political instability, the result of a lack of clarity in the Brexit negotiations, means this situation is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.”

Airfarewatchdog predicts more flight deals to the U.K., too, noting that airfares have been decreasing with competition from low-cost carriers and the introduction of basic economy pricing. London also offers a wealth of free museums and parks that have always made a trip across the pond a decent deal.

Where to stay: The Ibis London Shepherds Bush – Hammersmith Hotel offers above-average breakfast at no additional cost, and is about a 10-minute walk from the nearest Tube station.

Israel

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“Israel—which had its best year ever thanks to more than four million visiting tourists in 2018—meets the needs of every type of traveler, including the budget-conscious visitor, because of its delicious yet inexpensive food options, wide range of hotel choices, many free historical sites, and wonderful outdoor activities,” says Ellen Shapiro, North America PR Director for the Israel Ministry of Tourism.

Explore the ancient biblical sites and colorful flea markets of Jerusalem; stroll Tel Aviv’s vibrant neighborhoods; go for a hike and sample wine in the north; or float in the Dead Sea (the lowest point on earth) and Red Sea in the south—all of it can be done on a budget. Another way you’ll save? Many of the Holy Land’s hotels offer lavish, complimentary buffet breakfasts so you can eat shakshuka to your heart’s content (and, of course, you can fill up on cheap and delicious hummus and falafel everywhere you go).

Where to stay:Tal by the Beach Hotel Tel Aviv is a boutique hotel that won’t break the bank. Complimentary amenities include happy hours with hors d’oeuvres and bike rentals to explore the city.

Curacao

Curacao is seriously underrated, and not just because of its beautiful beaches and candy-colored capital of Willemstad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Dutch-Caribbean island is also affordable, especially during the summer, when you can score round-trip flights in the $300 range from many major U.S. cities. Luxurious beachfront resorts are surprisingly affordable, too—think less than $200 per night. The food is surprisingly cheap as well, considering the island has one of the best culinary reputations in the Caribbean.

Where to stay: The Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort has a Four Diamond rating from AAA, yet it offers rates under $200 per night almost year-round. It also offers an all-inclusive option.

Lake Como, Italy

 

You don’t need to bring home John Legend’s and Chrissy Tiegen’s paychecks to vacation in Lake Como. Save by staying in the historic city of Como, which offers reasonably priced lodging and is the area’s transportation hub. “The Romans first identified Como as a holiday destination,” explains Shelley Clark, spokesperson for Como-based Lario Hotels. “Today, in addition to being the gateway to what many consider the world’s most beautiful lake, Como remains a world-class destination loaded with quaint charm and an impressive array of historical, cultural, retail, and dining options.”

Free and low-cost activities include exploring the nearby nature trails and fairy-tale villages that surround the lake and riding the inexpensive Como-Brunate funicular to the Brunate, the “balcony of the Alps.” You can even enjoy a bit of luxury for less at the Lido di Cernobbio, which offers a glamorous poolside experience for less than $25 per person.

Where to stay: You can find reasonable nightly rates at the hip Posta Design Hotel, located in Como’s medieval old town just a short stroll from the waterfront promenade.

El Salvador

Did you know the official currency of El Salvador is the U.S. dollar? Not only does this take the guesswork out of budgeting for a vacation, but everything is also very affordable in El Salvador, Central America’s smallest country. Admission to two of the country’s most famous sites—Joya de Cerén, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (known as the “Pompeii of the Americas”), and San Andrés, a pre-Colombian site—costs less than $5.

You can also hike the country’s highest volcano, take an inexpensive surf lesson at Playa del Tunco, and learn about the country’s coffee culture at El Carmen Estate. Bonus: More than a dozen U.S. airports offer direct flights to El Salvador; from New York, it’s only five hours.

Where to stay: The luxe Sal & Luz Hotel comes at a reasonable price, with a quiet location and fabulous on-site restaurant.

Iceland

 

While Iceland is a relatively short flight from the East Coast, its pricey reputation has also kept many travelers at a distance. But that should change in 2019. “Right now, the U.S. dollar is worth 20 percent more than it was in early 2018,” says Mero Geesey of Carpe Mundo, a travel agency that specializes in Iceland. “There have also been a lot of new hotels and guesthouses that have opened up within the last year, and several new tour operators offering glacier hikes, snorkel tours, and more.”

Hidden Iceland, for example, provides travelers with intimate alternatives to overcrowded and overpriced experiences. “Instead of the Blue Lagoon, you can explore an ice cave as part of a two-day trip to a glacier lagoon that also includes searching for the northern lights,” says Ryan Connolly, cofounder and marketing manager of Hidden Iceland. “In the spring, travelers can play with newly birthed lambs at an authentic farm guesthouse.”

Where to stay: About an hour outside of Reykjavik, Lambastadir Guesthouse is located on a farm and features an outdoor hot tub and sauna.


5 thoughts on “8 Trips You Didn’t Know You Could Afford in 2019

  1. Alan A. Malizia: Contagious Optimism! Co-Author – Retired mathematics teacher and high school athletics coach. Honors: 1988 Ct. Coach of the Year for H.S. Girls Voleyball and 2007 Inducted into the Ct. Women's Volleyball Hall of Fame. Since retiring have written two books; "The Little Red Chair," an autobiography about my life experience as a polio survivor and "A View From The Quiet Corner," a selection of poems and reflections. Presently I am a contributing author for the "Life Carrots" series primarily authored by Dave Mezzapelle of Goliathjobs.com.
    Alan A. Malizia: Contagious Optimism! Co-Author says:

    Beautiful places, Mihran! I can now see what inspires your music.
    -Alan

  2. This was quite fun to read! I want to visit ALL those places. Actually, I visit Kauai annually – we use Alaska Air now, and I agree that prices have become more competitive now that more airlines are flying to HI. London – oh, be still my heart. Love visiting this incredible city. You’re encouraging me to think about going again in 2019 – and maybe to Lake Como from there! 🙂

  3. BroadBlogs – I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.
    BroadBlogs says:

    I want to go!!! Especially to Lake Como!

  4. Annika Perry – East Anglia, UK – I’m a versatile writer whose books span across various genres. My first venture into publishing is "The Storyteller Speaks" and this a collection of short stories, flash fiction and poetry. Published in January 2018 "The Storyteller Speaks" has received over twenty-five glowing reviews on Amazon. "Oskar’s Quest", my second book, it is a beautifully illustrated children’s book for younger children (and all young at heart!). "Oskar’s Quest" is an engaging story of adventure and courage. I have also completed one more story for children which is as yet unpublished. "Island Girl", my first full-length novel, is in its final edits and I’m looking forward to publishing this in due course. Writing has been a passion since childhood although it is only in the past few years that I have seriously started to write fiction. Initially, a writing course gave me encouragement and direction with my writing. Furthermore, the tutor recommended blogging and in January 2015 I set up my blog, Annika Perry’s Writing Blog. I never imagined the friendships I would make and I’ve been overwhelmed with the warmth and incredible support from people around the world. In spring 2014 I won First Prize in a Writing Magazine’s Short Story Competition which was a fantastic surprise and joy. Furthermore, I was short-listed for an Ink Tears Short Story Competition the same year. The recognition of my writing ability outside of my family and friends was a huge boost to my self-confidence and as a result, I started the mammoth undertaking of writing my first novel. Meanwhile, in early 2017 I was greatly encouraged by my friends and writers to publish some of my numerous short stories in a book. It was with great excitement and sense of achievement to launch the publication of my first book, "The Storyteller Speaks", in December 2017 with the paperback released in January 2018. The latter part of 2018 and throughout 2019 was busy with the realisation of a dream project, to publish a children’s book. Like so many parents, my son when young would request a bedtime story. These I tended to make up and a couple became his and my personal favourites. I revisited one of these stories and after much rewriting, editing and finding a wonderful illustrator, "Oskar’s Quest" was ready! Overall my road to publication has been circuitous and aided by the support of my family and friends. After gaining my BA Honours Degree in German Language and Literature from the University of Leeds I started working as a journalist. Following a serious illness, I changed career and gained a position as Administration Manager for a busy timber import company. I worked here for many years before leaving to pursue my passion for writing. I am now a full-time writer, blogger and book reviewer. I was born in Gothenburg, Sweden and at the age of six, moved to the UK with my family where we settled near Ilkley, West Yorkshire. Since then I have moved many times but now live in a small village in North Essex, England with my husband and occasionally my son, when he returns during university holidays. I am on the following social media sites and look forward to seeing you there. If you have a specific enquiry please use the form below. Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnikaPerry68 Author Website: https://annika-perry-author.com/ Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annika-Perry/e/B0789NNWFX/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/55576285-annika-perry Linkedin:https://www.linkedin.com/in/annika-perry-5a9ab8a6/
    Annika Perry says:

    Mihran, there is nothing better than reading travel articles in the midst of winter. I’m bookmarking your post as you have some great suggestions … London is a day trip for me but always fun to visit. Hawaii would be amazing to visit, but Lake Como is possibility this year. They all look so tempting! 😀😀

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