Many people who dream of traveling often find that they can’t do so due to financial reasons. And it’s true that travel can put quite the dent in your wallet — but it doesn’t have to. With a bit of savviness and the right timing, you can take a memorable vacation that will allow you to still have money left over for some fantastic food adventures and souvenirs that aren’t so cheap.
Every city has certain times of the year when you make the most bang for your buck. With the help of travel tech company Trivago, we came up with a list of the cheapest cities for you to visit each month. Now, that doesn’t include just any city, as many cheap places aren’t exactly the best for a vacation. The cities are on this list are among the most visited cities by travelers, and the folks at Trivago.com helped us determine the best values by looking at the average hotel rates for each month. (Air travel can be a bit more unpredictable, so you’ll have to check out our tips and tricks for booking cheap flights to the destinations on the list that you can’t get to with a car.) So if you’re looking for a guide for where to go each month of the year, our list of the cheapest places to travel, month by month, is just for you.
It’s not exactly a destination for those looking to run away from the cold, but Berlin is a great place year-round and the average hotel room is only $95 a night in January! Its 175 museums reflect the rich history of the city (and its country). The art scene is also phenomenal, and Berlin has plenty of galleries for you to peruse while you escape the chill. Of course, you’d be remiss to not visit the remnants of the Berlin Wall or the iconic Brandenburg Gate — but only after you’ve had a taste of the city’s currywurst (there are vegetarian versions too!).
The capital of Italy should definitely be on your travel bucket list, and February is a fantastic time to go. Hotels average only about $107 per night. Home of the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and Pantheon, it’s just asking to be on your Instagram feed. Make sure you get a taste of the local gelato (outside of the main tourist spots, so you don’t get overcharged) and a slice of thin-crusted Roman pizza before you leave. Rome also holds Vatican City within its borders, where you can find St. Peter’s Basilica and some of the greatest art in the Vatican Museums.
Seoul is a city full of cutting-edge technology, Korean pop culture, centuries-old traditions, and impressive skyscrapers as well as temples and palaces. It’s also the best place to go in March at about $81 a night with very mild weather that tends to go from the mid-40s to the low-60s in terms of temperature. Check out one of Seoul’s amusement parks or arts centers, and take a load off at a sauna or spa. Seoul also has plenty of culinary schools just for tourists, so you can learn how to make Seoul specialties such as tteokbokki (rice cakes in a spicy sauce) or pajeon (a type of Korean pancake made with scallions).
Hawaii is a dream vacation for many Americans, but it can be pricey. Hotels in Honolulu are only around $210 in April, and the weather is absolutely perfect: high 70s to low 80s during the day and in the upper 60s at night. Honolulu is also full of some truly breathtaking Hawaiian adventures for thrill-seekers, as well as some of the best seafood, sushi, and fruit in the country.
Kuala Lumpur hotel rates are a steal in May, costing you an average of only $41 a night! May weather here stays in the low 80s to high 90s, dipping down to the high 70s in the evenings, but you can beat the heat at one of the city’s many museums or performing halls, where you can experience Malaysia’s rich and unique culture. Eat some local roti canai at kedai mamak, or curry houses, along with delicious curry. Kuala Lumpur is also home to many historic mosques and Buddhist temples, the famous Petronas Twin Towers, as well as the gorgeous Batu Caves, over 400 million years old.
Thailand has some of the best cuisine, palaces, massage spas, and cultural performances, and you can get all of that right in its capital, Bangkok. A summer vacation here means hotels at just $56 a night! Go on one of the city’s many bicycle or tuk tuk (Thailand’s version of the rickshaw) tours or take lessons in Muay Thai for a more physical experience.
Dubai has gained much popularity as a tourist destination, and its constant development at a breathtaking speed makes it one of the most awe-inspiring cities in the world. It’s home to the tallest structure in the world, the Burj Khalifa, as well as the iconic Burj Al-Arab hotel and the Palm Islands (the largest artificial islands in the world). Its biggest draw is shopping, however, and the Dubai Mall (also the largest in the world) is the biggest attraction with over 1,200 stores (not including pop-ups), 120 restaurants, a theme park, an Olympic-sized ice skating rink, and even a 250-room luxury hotel. Make sure you don’t leave without trying the local harees, shawarmas, or stuffed camel (it’s not that weird, we promise).
Summers in Madrid can get very hot, but at $85 for a night’s stay, you’ll probably find a way to cool down. A trip here would be worth it too; Madrid is known for its architecture and of course its Spanish cuisine. Visit the Palacio Real, or Royal Palace, the official residence of the king, or catch a flamenco show for some amazing Spanish history and culture.
Puerto Vallarta is best known as a vacation resort, and in September you can get a great deal for $125 a night! Go to the Bay of Banderas, one of the largest and deepest in the world or the Vallarta Botanical Gardens when you’re not taking part in the city’s many outdoor and water sport opportunities. While Mexican food can be amazing (we highly recommend the local taco tour), make sure to stick to bottled water so you don’t upset your stomach.
Mexico managed to hit the list twice, and one of the most popular spring break spots is actually a great place to go in October. Hotels are only $135 a night, and the Mexican heat starts to become milder, so you’re sure to enjoy your Cancún vacation. Aside from the fabulous beaches, Cancún also has an interactive aquarium and is home to Chichen Itza, the ruins of an ancient Mayan city designated as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World by UNESCO.
Istanbul may not be the official capital of Turkey, but it’s definitely the cultural one. Fall is the best time to visit Istanbul, as prices and temperatures both drop, the latter going between the high 50s and 70s. November hotel rates are only $64 on average, so you can spend all your money on delicious Turkish kebabs and teas, as well as gorgeous handcrafted jewelry and ceramics at the Grand Bazaar. Istanbul has some of the most gorgeous mosques in the world, most notably the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Make sure you also stop by Topkapı Palace, which houses relics that are said to have belonged to several figures important to the Abrahamic religions, including Abraham, Moses, David and others.
The “Country Music Capital of the World” is a great spot to visit in December, with milder temperatures in the high 50s to low 60s and hotel rates that average at about $157. Make a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame or Centennial Park, where you can find the city’s full-size replica of the Parthenon in Rome. Nashville’s food scene is on fire, too — and so will your tongue be after you try the famous Nashville hot chicken. Nashville is also great for a quick weekend getaway, as are these 100 other towns.