The 27 Cheapest Places to Travel This Summer – Forbes

summer affordable

Photo courtesy of @recesscity/Instagram

Where to next? How about an affordable summer vacation spot.

There’s nothing like a summer vacation, but it can also be one of the most expensive times to take a trip. Depending on where you want to go, airfares are sky high and hotels are at a premium.

I interviewed a handful of women who are travel experts and got their favorite picks for the most affordable destinations to visit this summer. From beach getaways to city escapes to mountain hideaways, these are places that offer all the joys of the season without killing your wallet.

So where should you go? Read on for some amazing ideas.

Maine coast

Photo courtesy of Meredith Perdue of @mapandmenu/Instagram

The Maine coast — you can do it on the cheap.

Where: Maine

Chosen By: Meredith Perdue, co-creator of the lifestyle travel and food website, Map & Menu

Why: The coast of Maine is a quintessential American summer getaway destination, and for good reason: Who can resist the idea of sampling overstuffed lobster rolls while exploring mile after mile of the storied rocky coastline? When planning a summer trip to Maine during the height of the season, the cost may seem a little daunting at first. We’ve found that if you’re able to venture a little further off the beaten path, good deals — even during peak travel season — are still to be had. Although destinations like Camden, Mount Desert Island and Kennebunkport should rightfully be on any Maine travel bucket list, broadening your search beyond some of these more popular tourist destinations will end up costing a lot less in the long run. Some of our favorite getaways can be found in the Midcoast region of Maine. The Lincolnville Motel, a recently updated, midcentury roadside motel is located just north of the much more popular Camden, while the charming Nebo Lodge is nearly 13 miles off the mainland on the island of North Haven. Both are affordable yet stylish options that still provide the perfect Maine Midcoast experience. While visiting the area, grab a quick bite to eat at Dots Market in Lincolnville or Wasses Hot Dogs in Rockland, and make sure to keep an eye out for any of the numerous lobster pounds surrounding many of the coastal coves, where fresh-off-the-boat seafood is often available at pre-market prices.

affordable Brooklyn

Photo courtesy of @recesscity/Instagram

Brooklyn — the affordable alternative to Manhattan.

Where: Brooklyn, New York

Who: Anna Lisa is a travel and ethical style blogger, who runs the popular Instagram account @recesscity with her partner Porter. This September they’re packing their bags to circle the globe, a trip you can read more about here.

Chosen By: Ah, New York City in the summer time, where heat radiates off the sidewalks, tourists flock at a record pace and sun beats beat down with an intensity that can make even the most level-headed New Yorkers, well, irritable. Want to get a taste of the city, but not quite thrilled about the fee? Brooklyn offers the perfect go-between. Just a single bridge away from Manhattan, the streets are notably wider, the mornings quieter and the pace dialed down just a notch. This is a place where noontime July strolls can still be enjoyable, where there’s no need to sacrifice on culture (try cornbread ice-cream at OddFellows or jump in on the flash-frozen fad at -321 Degrees) and where hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes express an individuality that could keep you entertained for weeks, let alone a weekend. Rent one of literally hundreds of flats available on Airbnb to really stretch your dollar. Or check out a reasonably priced spot like the Urban Cowboy. For a little more, there’s The Box House, with an enviable interior design worthy of Instagram. New York is so often viewed as the epicenter of American culture, and for good reason: It’s where everything and anything can happen. We think Brooklyn is well worth the trip (and the subsequent trips back you’ll find impossible to resist). 

Hvar Island Croatia

Photo courtesy of @mylifesatravelmovie/Instagram

A stunning scene on Hvar Island in Croatia.

Where: Croatia

Chosen By: Alyssa Ramos of My Life’s a Movie is a solo female travel blogger, content creator, entrepreneur and social media influencer who travels the world full time. She aims to inspire the idea of “If I can do it, you can do it,” and seeks to showcase unique destinations through her unique photography style and honest, detailed travel tips.

Why: There seems to be this thought that Croatia is expensive — especially because of the increasingly popular Yacht Week, which requires a full-on yacht rental to sail around — but I can assure you that is not the case. If island hopping on Croatia’s infamous coastline is what you’re interested in, you’ll be happy to hear that you can opt for a ferry for as low as $4 to take you there. Renting a car is also extremely cheap in Croatia, at only $20 per day, which means you can get around to some of the lesser-known (and less expensive) little coastal towns like Rovinj, and up to popular attractions like Plitvice Lakes. Finding affordable accommodations is possible, as well. In Rovinj, I loved the beachfront resort, Amarin, where I recently got a last-minute room for under $100 (they’re a bit more in summer). I also loved Le Meridien in Split, where rooms start at 100 Euros. Airbnb is also popular and affordable throughout Croatia.

Lake Powell Arizona

Photo courtesy of @damesly/Instagram

A picture-perfect view of Lake Powell.

Where: Lake Powell, Arizona

Why: Northern Arizona is the home of red rocks and stone formations, but Lake Powell is where things start to get really interesting. It’s like visiting the Grand Canyon, if the Grand Canyon were underwater. Stretching the Utah/Arizona border, this 186-mile lake houses 96 canyons, many of which you can drive down and have all to yourself. You’ll also find
Antelope Canyon and the Rainbow Bridge (the world’s largest natural bridge) on the water, as well as free-flowing waterfalls, if you’re lucky enough to catch some rain. Spend a week on the lake with your friends and family, driving through
slot canyons, anchoring on deserted beaches and camping under the stars. Most houseboats come with waterslides attached to the back of them, and many have BBQs and hot tubs on the roof, too. Pick up your boat from
Antelope Point Marina where the cost per person works out to roughly $100/per day, depending on the size of the boat. You’ll be saving on food, too — grocery shop before you leave and plan to cook out most nights. Don’t miss
Horseshoe Bend, just outside of the town of Page, on your way in or out.
Spain Camino de Santiago Trail

Photo courtesy of @ottsworld/Instagram

Here’s an affordable way to see Spain: on the Camino de Santiago Trail.

Where: Camino de Santiago, Spain

Chosen By: Sherry Ott, founder of Ottsworld.com, shows you how to take epic adventures to intriguing places as a solo traveler.

Why: For the budget-minded adventure traveler, the cheapest way to travel Europe is by walking through it on the Camino de Santiago trail across Spain this summer. This is an epic walk; an ancient pilgrimage route to the apostle St. James’ shrine in Santiago de Compostela. I completed the Camino Frances Trail (500 miles) only spending $35 a day. The trail is easy to follow, and in the summer you won’t be lonely; thousands from around the world do the pilgrimage. This slow mode of travel is the cheapest way to see Spain. All restaurants along the route offer Pilgrim Meals, a 3-course meal with bottomless wine for $10, The route is also full of budget lodging options called Albergues, which offer shared dorm rooms and private rooms for only $7 to $20 a night. One of my favorites was Albergue Los Templarios in the rural province of Palencia with shared rooms starting at $9. However, you don’t always have to stay in albergues sleeping in close quarters — there is a luxurious side to the Camino, too. Rest your weary body and splurge in one of the many historic posadas along the way. I enjoyed every bit of my luxury at Casa de Tepa in Astorga, a former Earl’s residence for $100. This is the ultimate in slow, local travel and a unique way to see Northern Spain, get in shape and pinch those pennies. For more info on the Camino de Santiago, check out this Ottsworld.com guide.

St. Bart's

Photo courtesy of @laurabegleybloom/Instagram

An aerial view of St. Bart’s.

Where: St. Bart’s

Chosen By: Darcy Fogg

Why: St Bart’s on a budget? No, that was not a joke. Believe it or not, during summer you, too, can vacation in one of the most rarefied, sought after, talked about luxury destinations. Think Jay Z and Beyoncé, Kate Moss…the a-list celebrities are too many to list. If there is one place where you want to live like a local, it is St. Bart’s. Airbnb lists so many fabulous villas and homes — almost all have their own pool and stunning views, at a fraction of the cost of a hotel. And if you travel with family, another couple or friends, you can lower your cost per night to an absurdly low amount. Best part? This encourages you to hotel hop. Grab breakfast at Le Sereno, lunch at Le Guanahanisunset cocktails at Hotel Christopher. On Thursday nights, snag a seat for poolside cocktails and the weekly fashion show at Cheval Blanc Isle de France. All of the stunning beaches on the island are public, so rent a moped/scooter or a Moke for a fraction of the price of a car. Stop at the supermarché for a freshly baked baguette, French cheese and an ice-cold bottle of rose and hit the beach for the most perfect picnic lunch ever. Looking for lunch out of the sun? Take shelter at Shellona on Shell Beach and enjoy a tapas-style meal with sand in your toes. Dinner? Grab a “cheeseburger in paradise” at Le Select, in the port town of Gustavia, where Jimmy Buffet wrote the now-famous song. Or go where the locals go: Black Ginger, which offers excellence for pennies. Looking for celeb spotting? Cozy up to the bar at Le Ti, the iconic island cabaret and dance bar/restaurant. Arrive about 9:30 p.m. and enjoy the show while sipping on some creative cocktails — and order some fries while you’re at it.

Sandy River in Oregon’s Mount Hood National Forest during summer. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Where: Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory 

Chosen By: Lanee Lee and Lindsay Taub are co-founders of the award-winning travel blog VoyageVixens.com. Both are freelance travel writers for publications such as Hemispheres, National Geographic Traveller, Robb Report, and many more.

Why: If thousands of miles of hiking trails with mountain, river, waterfall, wetland and alpine lake views is your speed, then Mt. Hood Territory is the place to visit. Summer months are especially beautiful and mild in Mt. Hood National Forest and Clackamas Wilderness. Just 50 miles outside of Portland, vacation rentals are the way to go. Families eager to learn Oregon Trail history may explore using the free Mt. Hood Territory Heritage Trail app, with stops like Philip Foster Farm where you can grind corn, build a log cabin and saw logs for $5 ($20/family).  Rent a kayak or paddleboard through Clackamas River Outfitters at super reasonable rates, especially for kids under 10 ($25-35). Experience the bounty of The Territory at U-pick farms and the Oregon Farm Loops, where you can visit alpacas, learn about elk on a real elk ranch, stroll through fields of lavender (June/July) and dahlias (August/September) for free (or a minimal fee). Bakers should not miss the free daily tour at Bob’s Red Mill. Insider tip: Save on area attractions with the Gold VIP Discount Card.

Toronto's Sugar Beach

Photo courtesy of @nataliediscala/Instagram

Toronto’s Sugar Beach.

Where: Toronto, Canada

Chosen By: Natalie DiScala, editor of the travel and style blog, Oh! Travelissima, which celebrates the beauty of travel. 

Why: If you’re looking for a bargain this summer, consider Toronto. Not only is this vibrant and dynamic city my hometown (which means I have a major soft spot for it), but the strong U.S. dollar means it offers American travelers great value for their money (think: 25-30% off). Plus, Canada is celebrating its sesquicentennial this year, making it an extra special time to visit. Celebrations will be happening across the country and in Toronto all year long — but on Canada Day (July 1), Toronto will be lit up in parks and squares all over the city to commemorate this milestone anniversary. While you’re there, take advantage of all the free outdoor things to do in the city, like visiting the Distillery Historic District, exploring St. Lawrence Market and strolling The Beach, a popular neighborhood that stretches along the shores of Lake Ontario. Looking for a cultural experience? Toronto’s got lots on offer that won’t cost a thing, like the free events at Harbourfront Centre; free events, films and concerts at Yonge-Dundas Square and the Canadian Opera Company’s free concert series. 

Llanddwyn Island

Photo courtesy of @travelingjules/Instagram

Exploring the Wales Coast Path on Llanddwyn Island.

Where: Wales

Chosen By: Juliana Broste, “TravelingJules,” a travel host and filmmaker who captures interesting experiences and things to do around the world on video. You can follow here on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Why: While you may not typically think of the United Kingdom making the “most affordable list,” the exchange rate is the lowest it’s been in more than 30 years. Just to the west of England, Wales is a hidden gem and an adventure capital, with plenty to offer summer travelers. Wales is the first country to have a dedicated footpath all around its coast, totaling 870 miles; walkers, hikers and bikers can explore the Wales Coast Path for free. Or step back in time to explore a few of the country’s 641 castles, some of which are free. Adrenaline junkies can drop about 50 bucks (£40) to try the daring sport of coasteering, which was invented in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It’s an exhilarating shore-scrambling, swell-riding, cliff-jumping sort of adventure with guided trips available and wet suits and helmets included. Thrill seekers can also experience the largest zip-lining zone in Europe at Zip World Titan ($65); rent a bike and explore a mecca for mountain bikers in the Coed-y-Brenin Forest ($32); give surfing a try at Surf Snowdonia, an innovative lagoon with consistent waves (from $45) or splash around on the Upper Tryweryn by white water rafting at the National White Water Centre ($45). For a country the size of Massachusetts, Wales sure packs in the fun. For more, check out this “Epic Adventure in Wales.”

Big Sable lighthouse

Photo courtesy of @shaleewanders/Instagram

Michigan’s Big Sable lighthouse.

Where: Ludington, Michigan

Chosen By: Shalee Blackmer is a Michigan-raised travel blogger and founder of www.shaleewanders.com, which encourages travelers to experience life outside their comfort zone in the great outdoors. When not in Michigan, she can most likely be found on top of a mountain or on the side of a cliff. Her latest adventure included road-tripping America while living out of a renovated cargo van.

Why: Michigan’s west coast is known for having some of the most pristine beaches in the country and sunsets that rival Hawaii’s. The only way to compare it is to experience one yourself. Far away from big cities and busy freeways sits Ludington, Michigan, a small town nestled along the picturesque sand dunes and beaches of Lake Michigan. From the moment you arrive in town, time stops. Accommodation here are humble, yet classy, including affordable mom-and-pop motels and bed and breakfasts like Nader’s Motel & Suites ($65), Snyder’s Shoreline Inn ($70) and Ludington House Bed and Breakfast ($99). Or go camping at Ludington State Park, which offers spots just steps from the beach for $30. Take the day to relax along the white sand beach. Go hiking in Manistee National Forest. Visit Big Sable Lighthouse just north of town for an iconic Michigan sunset or stargazing session. And don’t miss House of Flavors, a famous yet affordable family restaurant and ice cream shop. Be sure to try Superman, the iconic Michigan ice-cream flavor.

Parnu Estonia

Photo courtesy of Visit Estonia

The shores of Parnu, in Estonia.

Where: Estonia

Chosen By: Stefanie Michaels, CEO of AdventureGirl.com, is a TV personality, having appeared on every major network in the U.S., and with features in People and Time Magazines, to name a few. A Vanity Fair feature, named Michaels “America’s Tweetheart” for being the first travel brand to reach over 1 million followers. Find her @adventuregirl on all social platforms.

Why: Estonia is the most modernized of the three countries that make up the Balkins. Although on the Euro, travelers get more for their exchange rates than other countries accepting this currency. What makes Estonia so special are its medieval towns, mostly in tact and a mix of chic restaurants and hotel options, especially in the capital of Tallinn. Walk through tiny cobblestone streets as if stepping back in time, then duck into a gastropub or chef-inspired restaurant for a completely modern experience. It’s a country of dichotomy, yet blends history with progressiveness seamlessly together. Other cities to explore are Tartu, a college town with some archeological sites, and the incredible UNESCO island site of Kinhu, where women reign supreme and wear traditional clothing. One of my favorite places is a seaside town, called Parnu. I stayed at the
Hedon Spa & Hotel, on the white shores of the Baltic Sea. Ocean waters are warm in the summer, and bathers can head out almost a mile in waist-deep water. Parnu is also a camper’s paradise. Sites such as
Joekaaru Lodges ($40 per night) and
Karjamaa Camping ($59 per night) make this locale even more affordable.
Riga Daugava river

Sunset over Riga’s Daugava river. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Where: Latvia

Chosen By: Patricia Stone is the founder of Global Adventuress. She has traveled to 155 countries and seeks out unique, off-the-beaten path destinations for solo, girlfriends, couples and family travel. Her site has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Star and nominated by USA Today as a Top 20 Travel Destination site.

Why: Most tourists who visit the Baltics head to Estonia. Recently, I traveled solo to explore another Baltic sister state — Latvia — and found some great bargains. Visit the Old Towns in the capital of Riga, where cafes, art galleries and old churches line the cobblestone streets. Stay in the resort seaside town Jurmala, Northern Europe’s riviera, known for its wooden art-nouveau villas, 20-mile sandy beach and spa treatments. Only 20 minutes from Riga, visitors can reach Jurmala by train for $4, and book a summer package with a room and spa treatments at Hotel Jurmala. Choose from over 200 treatments like the amber back massage, oxygen cocktail or the geo thalasso body peel (prices for services are as low as $25!). Don’t miss the sauna, steam rooms, pools and a walk along the beach. In summer, flights from New York City to Riga on Air Baltic are as low as $566 round-trip.

Milwaukee

Photo courtesy of @deidreworldwide/Instagram

Milwaukee’s Lakefront Brewery.

Where: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Chosen By: Deidre Mathis, author of “Wanderlust: For the Young, Broke Professional” and owner of Wanderlust Houston, modern millennial accommodations.

Why: This waterfront Wisconsin city is a surprisingly great summer getaway. A must-see for anyone in the area, the Milwaukee Art Museum is the city’s cultural and architectural crown jewel, thanks to its stunning white wings – the Burke Brise Soleil – designed by world renowned architect Santiago Calatrava. Even better, the museum is FREE every first Thursday of the month. It’s no wonder Milwaukee is sometimes called “Brew City.” There are also dozens of breweries here, including the long-running Lakefront Brewery, which was rated the fourth best tour in the nation by TripAdvisor (you can join the fun for just $10). The beer, some of which is named after the brewery workers, is respected by beer geeks around the country. Check out the Ambassador Hotel, a meticulously restored Art Deco jewel with super-attentive service. 

Borrego Springs

Photo courtesy of @voyagevixens/Instagram

Galleta Meadows in Borrego Springs.

Where: Borrego Springs, Califoria

Chosen By: Lanee Lee and Lindsay Taub are cofounders of the award-winning travel blog VoyageVixens.com. Both are freelance travel writers for publications such as Hemispheres, National Geographic Traveller, Robb Report, and many more.

Why: Although the town may be tiny (3,400 people), Borrego Springs is huge on attractions. In town, visit Galleta Meadows, an art safari experience with 130 life-sized metal sculptures (mostly animals of all kinds, from modern to prehistoric and fantastical) by artist Ricardo Breceda. On the outskirts of town, get lost in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park where you can hike, go jeeping in the badlands, catch a superbloom of wildflowers (if you time it right), and spot real wild animals like bighorn sheep. The most luxurious hotel tops out at roughly $225, but you can find much better deals at motels and AirBnBs. The food is wallet friendly too. All restaurants and bars are ‘$$’ or less on Yelp. Getting there, it’s an easy drive from either LAX (less than three hours) or SAN (less than two hours).

Geirangerfjorden in Norway

The view over magical Geirangerfjorden in Norway. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Where: The Fjord Region of Norway

Chosen By: Megan Eileen McDonough, award-winning travel photo-journalist and founder of Bohemian Trails, a blog for the savvy and stylish traveler.

Why: Norway has a reputation for being an expensive country, and in some cases, rightfully so. However, during my summer trip through the fjord region, I saved a lot of money by opting for public transportation like ferries and busses, both of which are surprisingly cheap. They don’t operate all year, so by traveling in high season, you can take full advantage. In major villages like Geiranger, you’ll find charming cabin-style accommodations such as Westerås Hytteutleige for a fraction of the price you’d pay at a standard hotel. Bonus points if you’re a Frozen fan because the fjord region was the movie’s inspiration for the fictional Arendelle. There are even more direct flights from US cities to Oslo thanks to the film’s mass appeal, therefore cutting down on travel time and creating more competition among airlines. Finally, remember that Norway has never been as affordable as it right now. The dollar is more than 30% stronger than a few years ago.

Barbados

On the beach in Bathsheba, on the eastern coast of Barbados. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Where: Barbados

Chosen By: Shnieka Johnson is a freelance writer specializing in family travel. You can follow her on Twitter.

Why: Because the exchange rate in Barbados is favorable for those using U.S dollars (US$1 = BBD$2), it is an affordable Caribbean destination — especially in summer. The weather is quite favorable as well: tropical year-round, with average temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees. If you plan your trip during an off-peak time, such as late summer, you can land a stay at one of the numerous upscale accommodations on the island at deep discounts. By planning a trip during an off-peak time, you will miss some of the most popular times to be in Barbados –including the popular summer festival, Crop Over – but you will not only avoid crowds, but also save dollars.Barbados is, of course, known for its beaches. There is nothing better than strolling on a white, sandy beach and looking out on the clear blue water. My favorite is Crane Beach, which is next to the luxurious Crane Hotel. You can find great deals for this property on the ocean side of the island. Delicious – and affordable – food and drink are in abundance as well on the island. The rum drinks at the Mount Gay Rum Barbados distillery cannot be beat. You’ll learn the history of Mount Gay Rum, see how the rum is made and have opportunity to taste the selections. Barbados is known for its Bajan cuisine (which includes dishes influenced by a number of cultures) and the Friday night fish fry at Oistins, which was once a major seaport in the Caribbean. At Oistins, you will be immersed in the local flavors of Barbados as you navigate the food stations, listen to live music and find craft items for sale. One of the best meals I’ve had in Barbados was a fish plate from “Uncle George” in Oistins Fish Market.

Clear Lake, Iowa

Photo courtesy of @thewalkingtourists/Instagram

A view of Clear Lake, Iowa.

Where: Clear Lake, Iowa

Chosen By: Whether it’s across the world or in her own backyard in Omaha, Nebraska, Lisa Trudell — co-founder of The Walking Tourists, with husband, Tim — seeks to expose treasures in the Midwest. Together with Mason City, Iowa -based Sara Broers, she also runs Midwest Travel Bloggers. They are lovers of all things food, travel, and adventure and have been on the road to discovery for the last 11 years combined.

Why: A jewel in the Midwest is Clear Lake, Iowa, which was named  one of the country’s great American beaches by USA TodayClear Lake — a small town with a population of just under 8,000 — is two hours north of Des Moines and two hours south of Minneapolis. On the huge lake, you’ll find boating rentals and a charming paddleboat called Lady of the Lake. Clear Lake is also known as the last place that Buddy Holly played (at the iconic Surf Ballroom) before his fateful plane crash only miles away in a cornfield. Great affordable places to stay abound — including camping in a yurt in McIntosh State Park for just $35 a night to sleeping in themed rooms at the Hilltop Motel right across from the Surf Ballroom. Looking for great meals with a view? Don’t miss eating the unique creation of Billy Gail’s French Cakes (a combination of French toast and pancakes) at PM Park. Or grab the delicious bourbon burger at The Landing. To top it off, grab a delicious sweet treat at Cookie’s Etc, where the mantra is “Life is Short, Eat Cookies.” Fun fact: Clear Lake has the longest running consecutive July 4th celebration in the state of Iowa, welcoming 50,000 visitors each year for the week-long event.

Denver

The Denver skyline. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Where: Denver

Chosen By: With nearly 30 years of travel, Beth Whitman is known as a women’s travel expert. She’s the Chief Wanderer at Wanderlust and Lipstick and leads tours through its sister company, WanderTours.

Why: Because of its central location, Denver is an excellent destination city in the U.S. It has matured tremendously in recent years, making it a draw for those seeking culture, cuisine and the outdoors. You can take a free tour of the Coors Brewery or, if you’d prefer something a bit healthier, check out the Celestial Seasonings production plant. Throughout the summer, City Park has free jazz concerts. If you don’t mind spending a bit of money, one of the best treats you can give yourself is a trip to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater where a wide variety of artists perform all summer long. Pretty much pick any direction and you can drive to the mountains for a day of hiking. Leave early in the morning, however, because during the summer parking lots fill quickly. Carry lots of water due to the altitude and bring your own snacks as many of the parks don’t have amenities other than bathrooms. Looking for a cheap place to stay? Check out Hostel Fishwhich is a more upscale take on a hostel, with private rooms, a restaurant, a music venue and amenities like free WiFi. 

Hudson River Valley

The Hudson River Valley. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Hudson, New York

Chosen By: Kate McCulley is the publisher of Adventurous Kate, the world’s leading blog focusing on solo and independent travel for women. She splits her time between New York City and the world. Follow her on Instagram at @adventurouskate.

Why: The Hudson Valley is an easy getaway from New York City, but the town of Hudson in particular is a great destination for foodies on a budget. For a town with a population of only 7,000, it has a surprising number of top-notch restaurants with reasonable prices. Be sure to hit up Grazin’, a charming diner and the world’s first Animal Welfare-approved restaurant; Swoon Kitchenbar, featuring an omnivore menu with loads of fabulous vegetarian and vegan dishes, and the Crimson Sparrow, a high-end fusion restaurant featuring Asian flavors and French techniques (don’t miss the izakaya fried chicken). In between meals, explore the boutiques, coffee shops and galleries of Warren Street. You can find cheap places to stay like the St. Charles Hotel, as well as Airbnb rentals for under $80 per night.

Jupiter Florida

Photo courtesy of @mylifesatravelmovie/Instagram

Jupiter — Florida’s best kept secret.

Where: Jupiter, Florida

Chosen By: Alyssa Ramos of My Life’s a Movie is a solo female travel blogger, content creator, entrepreneur and social media influencer who travels the world full time. She aims to inspire the idea of “If I can do it, you can do it,” and seeks to showcase unique destinations through her unique photography style and honest, detailed travel tips.

Why: Jupiter is a small, but quickly growing coastal town just 15 minutes north of Palm Beach. It used to be a sleepy, unknown beach town when I was growing up here, and is fast becoming a tropical hot spot. But there’s a big perk — it’s super affordable since it’s still super local. Jupiter’s key attraction is its miles and miles of clean beach shores, which are uncorrupted by expensive tourist restaurants and souvenir shops. You’ll find plenty of delicious local restaurants nearby, most of which have awesome happy hours, like Guanabanas and the Thirsty Turtle. There are a lot of well-priced chain properties here (Courtyward by Marriott, Comfort Inn & Suites), as well as a lot of nice Airbnbs, which is a super affordable option. It also goes without saying that the weather tends to be perfect in Jupiter.

Lebanon Qadisha Valley

Photo courtesy of @globaladventuress/Instagram

A bird’s-eye-view of Lebanon’s Qadisha Valley.

Where: Lebanon 

Chosen By: Patricia Stone is the founder of Global Adventuress. She has traveled to 155 countries and seeks out unique, off-the-beaten path destinations for solo, girlfriends, couples and family travel. Her site has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Star and nominated by USA Today as a Top 20 Travel Destination site.

Why: Lebanon is a fascinating diverse country in the Middle East — from its turquoise Mediterranean coast to its high, 6,000-foot peaks overlooking the panoramic Qadisha Valley, where you find the oldest Cedar trees in the world. Visitors who love history, nature and adventure can hike along one of the many trails in this holy valley and stay at the Old Patriarchs Monastery for only $10 per night (including breakfast) or a local B&B from L’Hote Libanais for about $80. Walk the valley floor, pass waterfalls in deep gorges, follow the scent of jasmine and roses that lead up to the snow capped mountains for breathtaking views. Drink freshly squeezed OJ, or snack on organic local fruits — cherries, peaches — and be sure to taste the local sweets called kenafee for only $2. May to August offer ideal hiking weather; wild flowers blanket the hills. Don’t miss a visit to Becharre village, birthplace of Khalil Gibran, the famous poet who wrote The ProphetIf time permits, visit the Roman ruins in Baalbek, stop for a free wine tasting and tours of the 2,000-year-old caves at Kasara and eat the best Lebanese food in Zahle along the Berdawni River, just next to the fertile Bekaa Valley. Spend a week and visit the Jeita Grotto, the ancient town of Byblos and Harissa, as well as other towns along the Mediterranean coast. On Saturdays, stop at the farmer’s market at the Beirut souks and take a cooking class for $25 per person. Good to know: The Lebanese people are very hospitable and most everyone speaks English, French and Arabic. I traveled with a girlfriend and we felt very safe throughout our stay. You can fly from New York City to Beirut for as low as $659 on Turkish Airlines or Qatar Airways.

cheap Antigua

Photo courtesy of @recesscity/Instagram

Consider summer in Antigua for great prices.

Where: Antigua

Who: Anna Lisa is a travel and ethical style blogger, who runs the popular Instagram account @recesscity with her partner Porter. This September they’re packing their bags to circle the globe, a trip you can read more about here.

Why: Famous for its 365 beaches (one for every day of the year, they say) Antigua is well worth the hype. Home to handfuls of British and Italian expats, this island offers a blend of Caribbean culture and European influence without the price tag that comes along with other Euro-infused hot spots like St. Bart’s or the BVI’s. In the summer Caribbean tourism is at its lowest, which means affordable hotel deals, empty beaches, no need to make restaurant reservations ahead of time and the certainty that you’ll be able to read that book you’ve been meaning to get to with the pool chairs beside you, blissfully unclaimed. Restaurants primarily source local ingredients to create dishes worth salivating over (enjoy just caught sushi on the floating dock restaurant at South Point). Ruins of former British forts and the islands geological anomalies make for educational family outings, and every Sunday night lookout spot Shirley Heights serves up barbecue and live music, offering a taste of just how upbeat and welcoming this island nation’s people truly are. Do not miss a trip to Rendezvous Bay, quite possibly the most beautiful and secluded beach in all of the Caribbean and accessible only by boat or hike. For those wanting an easier way to the waves, Half Moon Bay is only slightly less stunning, has a snack bar perfect for picnic fix-ins and offers shade from the almost always 85 degree heat in the form of palms and mangroves. Where to stay? Ocean Point Resort and Spa is a great budget option. Or consider the all-inclusive Cocobay, which offers summer specials, like 30% off in June. You can look forward to ending your days diving into an ocean warm and clear enough for even the most hesitant of swimmers. I can almost hear the waves.

Lake Ohrid Macedonia

On the shores of Lake Ohrid, in Macedonia. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Where: Lake Ohrid, Macedonia

Chosen By: Kate McCulley is the publisher of Adventurous Kate, the world’s leading blog focusing on solo and independent travel for women. She splits her time between New York City and the world. Follow her on Instagram at @adventurouskate.

Bellingham, Washington

Photo courtesy of @voyagevixens/Instagram

Kayaking in Bellingham, Washington.

Where: Bellingham, Washington

Chosen By: Lanee Lee and Lindsay Taub are co-founders of the award-winning travel blog VoyageVixens.com. Both are freelance travel writers for publications such as Hemispheres, National Geographic Traveller, Robb Report, and many more.

Why: Down a beer, eat some pizza and get married all in one spot at The North Fork Brewery. Talk about a package deal! Beyond the cool brewery-meets-chapel on the outskirts of town, Bellingham is ideal for foodies and outdoor lovers alike. Allegiant Air flies direct to Bellingham from many major cities with super cheap fares. And it’s chock full of adorable (and affordable) BnB’s, like Tree Frog Night Inn. The Farmer’s Market is legendary, as is kayaking in the Chuckanut Bay. Taylor Shellfish is not to be missed, especially for an encounter with the world’s most phallic food. Really, check this video out! More on our top picks for Bellingham here.

Kiev

Photo courtesy of @globaladventuress/Instagram

The gilded skyline of Kiev.

Where: Kiev, Ukraine

Chosen By: Patricia Stone is the founder of Global Adventuress. She has traveled to 155 countries and seeks out unique, off-the-beaten path destinations for solo, girlfriends, couples and family travel. Her site has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Star and nominated by USA Today as a Top 20 Travel Destination site.

Why: For history, art and culture enthusiasts, there’s nothing like Kiev. There are gold domed churches, museums, Ukrainian dance shows, markets and art galleries where art lovers can buy a painting for as low as $125. Summer is a great time to visit and walk through parks and throughout the city from the upper town down the historic Andriyivskyy Descent to the lower Podil neighborhood. A highlight is the 11th-century Kiev Pechersk Lavra monastery, catacombs and collection of gold from the ancient Scythian period. If you need a break from the sightseeing, book a facial (60 minutes for only $10!) or a one-hour massage for $40 at the Leonardo Wellness Center. I highly recommend using a private guide like Pavel Korsun, since Kiev is not an easy city to navigate; you can view his site and tours here. Three- and four-star hotels in Kiev start at just $45 a night, and you can fly from New York City to Kiev on Ukrainian Airlines International for as low as $470.

Montreal

Photo courtesy of @recesscity/Instagram

Why go all the way to France? Consider Montreal.

Where: Montreal, Quebec

Who: Anna Lisa is a travel and ethical style blogger, who runs the popular Instagram account @recesscity with her partner Porter. This September they’re packing their bags to circle the globe, a trip you can read more about here.

Why: Envying those jetting off to Europe, but not quite ready to commit the time and funds those long-haul flights demand? Montreal is the perfect solution. Tucked away just a five hours drive from Boston or a 90-minute Air Canada flight from New York City, Quebec’s largest city offers the perfect blend of old European architecture and cosmopolitan modernity. Spend the mornings strolling the streets of old Montreal, eating beignets from Cafe Olimpico and feeling as though you’ve just stepped into Midnight in Paris. Then, hop a cab in the afternoon to take in downtown’s enviable art scene, street style, coconut ash ice cream from Ca Lem and a Parisian pace that encourages all to enjoy the moment, take a seat outside and tuck away their phones. The locals are notably friendly to tourists and twenty-somethings abound. Whether looking for a romantic getaway for two or a culturally immersive weekend away (sans jetlag), Montreal is a secret worth sharing. If you didn’t know you were in Canada, you would just as soon assume you’d arrived in Lausanne or Lyon. Not to mention, Canada has quietly solidified its position as a Mecca for independent designers in recent years, humbly turning out renowned brands like Wings & Horns, Want Les Essentiels and Sorel. Hotels and enviable Airbnbs come in a range of affordable prices. Hotel Nelligan and Hotel10 (which is geared toward a young crowd) both fall under the $200 range, particularly if you book ahead. For a hotel that reflects this endlessly charming city’s ability to blend old and new, the Hotel William Gray offers double the square footage at a fraction of the price you’d pay for equal accommodation in Paris. For the less urbanely enthusiastic, take a day trip to hike Mont Tremblant or bring little ones along to explore the internationally acclaimed Biodome. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself returning to watch the whole city overtaken by color come fall.

 Cannon Beach in Oregon

View of Cannon Beach in Oregon with Haystack Rock in the background. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Where: Cannon Beach, Oregon

Chosen By: With nearly 30 years of travel, Beth Whitman is known as a women’s travel expert. She’s the Chief Wanderer at Wanderlust and Lipstick and leads tours through its sister company, WanderTours.

Why: While Cannon Beach may not be the least expensive option on the Oregon coast, there are ways to make this an affordable summer getaway. And there’s something for everyone — families, friends, solo travelers — in this special small town. With nature at your back door, there’s plenty of free entertainment. First stop: Haystack Rock, the iconic outcropping that juts from the water. Here you can walk out to the rocks during low tide and search for starfish and other sea creatures. Nearby Ecola State Park not only offers some wonderful hiking trails that hug the coastline but it has camping spots as well. For a treat, stop in at the Pig ‘n Pancake, where you can fill up on a hearty and affordable breakfast. Consider renting a beach house with a kitchen. A tip: Many accommodations in town offer special rates if you book Sunday through Thursday. I’m also a fan of McBee Cottages. Because it’s a mere block from the beach, it’s a little less expensive than places right on the water.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram and check out more of my work at laurabegleybloom.com.

The 27 Cheapest Places to Travel This Summer – Forbes

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