International destinations where travel prices may be cheaper now than in years’ past
Don’t let high prices trip you up.
As the economy and job market improve, many Americans are adding international travel — once out of the question because of its cost — to their to-do lists. And they’ll likely spend big: The average American who takes a trip will drop more than $3200 for an international vacation that averages 12-nights. What’s more, a LearnVest survey from this year found that many people will go into debt to fund their vacations.
With that in mind, Moneyish asked experts where to go in 2018 where prices — especially flight prices, which are often huge part of a trip’s cost — might be more reasonable than they’ve been in past years. Here are five spots they recommend.
If you dream of gorgeous beaches: Nicaragua
You can visit some of the most spectacular beaches in the world for a fraction of the cost of hitting up the Caribbean or even neighboring Costa Rica. “It has everything that Costa Rica has but tourists just don’t know yet,” says Matt Guidice of flight monitoring site Matt’s Flights. “I bet in 3-5 years it will be the same prices as Costa Rica.”
Plus, Guidice notes that Managua has seen one of the the biggest drops in flight costs going into 2018, and Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir.com adds that you can often find big-time sales on flights to Nicaragua from major U.S. cities. For example, next month, Spirit has roundtrip flights for $265 from New York to Managua. Plus, accommodations in the country are very inexpensive — Moneyish recently wrote about two private islands in the country that could be rented for under $200 a night — as is food.
If you want great food and culture: Spain
Some say Spain is the best country in the world for food, and it ’s often far cheaper than other Western European foodie favorites like France. What’s more, flight prices for both Madrid and Barcelona are trending cheaper now than they were at this time last year, according to data from CheapAir.com’s Klee. For example, Carson Yarbrough, a personal finance expert at Offers.com, says that prices to Barcelona are down 20% for the first half of 2018 as compared to the same time last year, adding the foodie favorite city also boasts “some of Europe’s best museums, architecture and nightlife at an affordable price relative to other popular European cities.”
What’s more, overall prices in Spain — which was hit particuarly hard by the economic crisis and still has a 17% unemployment rate — for everything from food to transportation are roughly 18% lower than in the U.S., and alternatives to sometimes-pricey hotels like Airbnbs are plentiful. Pro tip: If you’ve hit up Barcelona and Madrid before, Lonely Planet recommends Lanzarote in the Canary Islands for 2018, noting that “a well-developed infrastructure makes it a doddle to find affordable lodgings, food and car rental.”
If you crave outdoor adventure: New Zealand
For U.S. travelers, the exchange rate with New Zealand — a country known for its diverse and inspiring landscape (Lord of the Rings was filmed here) — has been more favorable in the past couple years than it was for many years before that, so it may be time to explore the Kiwis native land. It won’t be dirt cheap, thanks in part to the fact that flying that far rarely is (take a flight heading out in mid-May to get the best deals, with a good deal from New York City to Auckland costing around $1100 roundtrip, according to Hopper).
But you can save money relative to past years thanks to the exchange rate and the fact that the myriad alternative accommodations like farmstays and hostels — these can have private, family rooms for those who aren’t into share — can help keep accommodation costs pretty low,” according to Klee.
If you want to visit one of the year’s hottest destinations: Colombia
You may have seen Colombia pop up on a number of travel lists — Travel & Leisure calls it “South America’s best kept secret” — and now may be the time to go. “Colombia is one of the most affordable cities to travel to in South America, with the exchange rate between the USD and the Colombian peso 30% cheaper than a couple years ago,” says Yarbrough. “Plus, traveling to Colombia comes with bonuses like being just a short distance from the Amazon rainforest and the start of the Andes mountains, perfect for an added adventure to your trip.” And, adds Guidice, food is very inexpensive — because of their good climate “a lot of their produce can be grown year round.”
If you want an easy tropical vacation: Mexico
Roman Shteyn, travel reward site RewardExpert’s CEO and co-founder, says that Mexico is a great bargain right now, with reasonably priced accommodations, shopping, food and more https://moneyish.com/hoard/3-cheapest-and-most-expensive-countries-to-visit-right-now/. And Guidice of Matt’s Flights notes that places like Mexico City, Tulum, Oaxaca have seen big flight price drops going into 2018; Cancun flights are also typically reasonable. For some of the best deals to Mexico, looks for travel packages of hotel plus airfare: A four-day trip to a nice resort with roundtrip airfare can cost as little as about $550 per person.
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