These 10 Destinations Will Give You the Most Bang for Your Buck in 2018 Gallery
December 28, 2017
The best in travel for the best value
These 10 Destinations Will Give You the Most Bang for Your Buck in 2018
One of the best New Year’s resolutions to have is to travel more. Travel can bring you great food, great friends, and great wisdom. It can, however, be cost-prohibitive. Or so you'd think. Here at the Daily Meal, we understand the joys and life-changing experiences that travel can bring you, and we strongly believe that everyone should be able to experience it, regardless of what they can afford. Unfortunately, many of the top 2018 destinations may make a bit of a dent in your wallet. But there are plenty more that won’t.
The best destinations are those that are both affordable and extremely enjoyable. Our friends at Lonely Planet are some of the biggest experts in the field of travel, and recently they released their Best in Travel series to guide those of us with a serious wanderlust in the coming year. Among the information they’ve shared is a list of places from around the globe that offer the best of culture, cuisine, and history in 2018 without breaking the bank. A couple destinations on the list are right here in the States and there's at least one on every continent except Antarctica. You’ll only have to worry about saving up your vacation days for these 10 destinations that will give you the most bang for your buck in 2018.
The Grand Canyon State has a lot more to offer than, well, the Grand Canyon. Arizona is the perfect destination for nature-lovers and adventure travelers, which makes it quite affordable by definition, but it’s also got quite a bit going on in its many arts and food scenes. The state is full of cities and towns that you add together for a road trip tour or visit individually for a wonderful weekend getaway — for instance, sunny Tuscon with its Southwestern and Mexican cultural heritage. It’ll cost you little to nothing to see such sites as Tucson’s Sabino Canyon and Saguaro National Park and culture-heavy like picturesque Sedona, home to almost 100 art galleries and multiple cultural events as well as stores selling local native arts and crafts. Go closer to the Utah border to see the bit of Lake Powell that stretches into Arizona, a site so out-of-this-world that it’s been used in 45 films and television shows depicting other planets or universes.
The Mexican peninsula of Baja California is anything but small, made up of two Mexican states and stretching about 760 miles from top to bottom. You’ll find beaches, deserts, volcanoes, and nice historic, colonial towns here, as well as fantastic Mexican cuisine. Relatively remote and not very populated, Baja California is pretty affordable, particularly since it’s the kind of place people usually go for inexpensive activities such as hiking, camping, surfing, and other outdoor adventures. Explore the booming brewery scene in Tijuana and the wine routes in Valle de Guadalupe, before heading further down to hit the resorts and restaurants of Cabo San Lucas and visit the missions of San Ignacio, Loreto, and Mulege.
Morocco is one of the best places to be in 2018, but if you’re looking for a particularly budget-friendly destination, explore Essaouira. This resort town has fantastic beaches great for windsurfing and kitesurfing, as well as a colorful and busy medina for you to stroll through. There are also flights now available from France and the UK at affordable prices, and the city isn’t plagued by the inflated prices that come with big tourist crowds in the same way that cities like Marrakesh, Rabat, and Fez are. Food is affordable as well, and as a coastal destination, the seafood here is must-try.
Hunan province isn’t one of the most popular for international travelers, but that’s not for lack of what it has to offer. Home to Mao Zedong, who was born and raised in the city of Shaoshan, and of delicious Hunan cuisine, Hunan has a long history and a rich culture to back it up. Food and accommodation can be extremely cheap. In 2016, the world’s longest glass bridge opened up in Zhangjiajie, making for a terrifying yet exhilarating walk across the national park’s sandstone canyon. Get to know the province’s unique history and culture while visiting its capital, Changsha, and enjoy the mountains, parks, and hot springs of Hengyang before sailing past Fenghuang, a picturesque town suspended above the Tuo River.
Despite being the most populous Floridian city, complete with Floridian beaches, music, culture, and art, Jacksonville isn’t as popular as other state destinations such as Orlando, Miami, Tampa, and the Keys. Yet with so many people — over 880,000, to be exact — the city has quite a bit going on, with plenty of affordable restaurants and the lowest hotel rates in Florida. Multiple art galleries and interesting shops populate the downtown part of the city, which is full of great nightlife and eight local breweries. Jacksonville is more than city, though, with the largest urban park system in the country, where you can stroll, hike, bike, or even take a guided kayak tour to enjoy the best of Floridian nature.
La Paz, Bolivia
La Paz is a destination that’ll make both your wallet and your taste buds happy. It should cost you less than $10 for a restaurant meal, but street foods are even cheaper and possibly even more delicious, with just a few bucks getting you fantastic Bolivian cuisine that brings together flavors from Spain, Argentina, Russia, and indigenous traditionss to give you treats such as salteñas — baked savory pastries stuffed with meat in a sweet and spicy sauce. Boutique hotels with affordable prices give you great options for places to stay, and the high-altitude environment also has plenty of free natural wonders for you to take in.
Lanzarote, Canary Islands
The island of Lanzarote is the easternmost of Spain's autonomous Canary Islands, and while not the most popular, it’s quickly becoming a favored destination for many savvy travelers. Far more affordable than Gran Canaria or Tenerife, Lanzarote is known for its beaches such as those of Órzola and Caleta de Famara, the latter particularly famous for its surfing. For a more secluded beach, check out the gorgeous Papagayo Beaches in Playa Blanca, and for some fantastic scenery, visit Parque Nacional de Timanfaya. Take a drive or a hike around the island for the some truly stunning ocean and mountain scenery, and make sure you have some Canarian cuisine while you’re at it, particularly the kind cooked using volcanoes for heat.
Despite its strong historical significance, Poland isn’t exactly one of the most popular European destinations. There’s plenty to do and see here, however, and it can all be done within quite the reasonable budget, with affordable food and accomodation. The capital city of Warsaw, founded in the thirteenth century, was once considered the Paris of the East, and today it’s one of the safest cities in the world. Kraków is more the cultural capital of Poland, full of monuments, museums, churches, and the largest market square in Europe, as well as a fantastic annual music festival. It won’t cost you much to catch a train or bus to see other famous sites such as the horrific Auschwitz concentration camp of World War II infamy; Wrocław, a city of 12 islands and many bridges; and the last temperate primeval forest in Europe, Białowieża National Park.
Tallinn itself also made our list of top destinations for 2018, the main reason being that it will be celebrating the hundreth anniversary of its independence from the Russian Empire this year — which means tons of free cultural events. Tallinn also offers plenty of free sightseeing, with a history that goes back many centuries, as seen with the medieval houses and cobbled streets in its Old City. Flights into Tallinn from other European destinations are also comparatively cheap, and there are plenty of budget-friendly boarding options such as guesthouses, dorms, hostels, and Airbnb, which has many rooms for under $100 a night right in the middle of Old City.
In the wake of Brexit, the British pound sterling has weakened quite a bit, making the United Kingdom — made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland — quite an affordable vacation destination. Take a tour of diverse and ever-popular London, the music and arts scene of Manchester, Welsh culture in Cardiff, the political and historical monuments of Belfast, and the hub and capital of Scotland, Edinburgh. The UK has so much history and so many different cities, sites, festivals, museums, and markets that just one trip won’t do. If you think you may need to take more than one vacation this year, here are 10 methods savvy travelers use to save on airfare.