Top 10 budget destinations for 2013

Every Year before the winter holidays, the Budget Travel Team announces the list with the most affordable destinations for the upcoming year. Usually the list is surprising, there can be found totally unknown destinations for you! A whole team worked on this top, paying attention to the following details: new flight destinations, airline prices, places aggressively building new hotels, cities experiencing cultural booms and even currency charts. Those on a budget or just looking for great budget affairs should read carefully the list below and hurry to get to the decision because the next year things could change and will be too late. So read up, pick a place, and get planning!

1Antalya, Turkey

Turkish Riviera is a must-see destination, especially for those who haven’t had the opportunity to travel to Turkey, or more – haven’t heard of this corner of paradise. Antalya is a common tourist destination for Eastern Europeans, who have been flocking here in droves for years; but Antalya has something to offer every visitor from all over the world. Tourists looking for a memorable 2013 summer vacation to a city that is part metropolis, part ancient town and part beachfront, should opt for Antalya. This year they will benefit from favorable prices for accommodation – hotel prices have fallen from last year by 25%. The average price to rent a two night hotel room is about $145, but there can be also found 5-star all-inclusive resorts on the beach that offer rates as low as $100 a night. Antalya also boasts lots of mega resorts to choose from; tourists looking for comfortable, stylish and luxurious accommodation can choose the World of Wonders Topkapi Palace Hotel. Besides great hotels with awesome service, more adventurous types will also get a huge kick out of the city's proximity to some of the oldest known architectural ruins in the world. The nearby Catalhoyuk is one of the largest and most evolved Neolithic and Chalcolithic sites ever unearthed dating back to 7500B.C.

2Boracay Island, The Philippines

The pristine beaches of Boracay Island in the Philippines Archipelago are on top budget destinations list for those looking a budget vacation in 2013; especially for East Asian and United States tourists. The miles of white sandy beaches that disappear into turquoise waters make the beaches of Boracay Island by far the best in the Southeast Asian archipelago. The island has become a popular cruise destination especially since the Royal Caribbean made its first call to Boracay in October, a move that will incite other cruise lines to do the same. Boracay has all the elements of a tropical paradise that it enchants visitors from around the globe; the most important element is its still-affordable hotel prices. There are more than 300 hotels and resorts in Boracay nowadays and are of international standards. The number is great taking into consideration the fact that tourists never even set foot on Boracay until the 1970s. Boracay can be reached by air and boat. Several companies offer boat trips, the departing point being from North Harbor, Manila. Also, for less than $25, tourists can take a flight from the Manila Domestic Airport to Boracay's new airport.

3Ko Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Maybe the name of these idyllic islands aren’t so well known, but their warm azure waters, lush green forests, leaf-blanketed limestone peaks, and soft white sand beaches and bays are renowned all over the world. The amazing beauty of the six islands in the Ko Phi Phi group became famous worldwide when Ko Phi Phi Leh was used as a location for the 2000 British-American film The Beach. This holiday destination – a dream of every tourist, from wherever he/she may be – was destoyed in 2004 by a devastating tsunami. Followed eight years of rigorous rebuilding efforts; now it's well on its way to becoming a luxury tourist spot. Anyway, Ko Phi Phi is considered to be an expensive destination, because it is one of the most coveted tourist destinations in Thailand, and because of the construction of plush new resorts such as the Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort & Spa. But the hotel prices have fallen from last year by 27%, compared with a 13% increase in nearby Phuket; so the average price to rent a two night hotel room is about $150.

4Loire Valley, France

Loire Valley is one of the most popular wine and chateaux region in France; it was listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 2000. It stretches from the Muscadet region near the city of Nantes to the region of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé just southeast of the city of Orléans. The spectacular cultural landscape contains historic villages and towns with amazing architectural monuments, and centuries-old cultivated vineyards. In 2012, the Hotel Price Index recorded a decrease of 19% in average hotel rooms; so the average price to rent a two night hotel room is about $125. Nevertheless, travelling to France isn’t generally considered a budget affair. But taking into consideration the fact that at the end of the year 2012 the Euro hit a two-month low against the dollar due to bailing out debt-burdened member nations, it adds to your advantage when traveling right now. Tourists willing to see the best of Loire Valley are advised to rent a car in Paris and drive 240 kilometers south until they reach the middle stretch along the Loire River. This is the best way to drive to the various vineyards. There are lots of charming country inns, B&Bs with great service, and chateaux-turned-hotels; prices range from $70 a night.

5Nashville, Tennessee

The vibrant capital of Tennessee, Nashville is home to the most legendary attractions of country music. It is known as Music City for its Ryman Auditorium – the mother church of country music, Music Row – the heart of country music recording and publishing, Country Music Hall of Fame – a museum dedicated to country music history, and the Grand Ole Opry – a place that presents exciting entertainment experiences. This year much more country music lovers will have the great opportunity to live memorable moments in the Music City because of a brand-new, $585 million, 118,000-square-foot convention center, which will in turn help fuel the city's ongoing hotel construction boom. At the moment over 1,000 rooms are under construction, with five new hotels potentially slated for the SoBro (South of Lower Broadway) neighborhood alone. This move is expected to drive average daily rates down in the city. Also, a lot of restaurants, taverns and other places to eat and rest will be constructed, to meet the needs of tourists.

6Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has a rich historical heritage, beautiful countryside and coastline to explore. It has something to impress every visitor. Nevertheless, Northern Ireland has been avoided for a period because of The Troubles – a bloody religious conflict. Even the Peace has since been restored, the country hesitate to appear on the top of travelers' bucket lists. But the situation is different in 2013, and this is due to the aptly named Oaky Dokes, the red squirrel mascot of Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland's second city and the first ever U.K. City of Culture. Birmingham, Norwich, and Sheffield couldn’t compete with the amazing 6th-century walled city of Derry. About spend $25 million will be invested in new cultural programs designed to bring in tourism, including performances from the Royal Ballet and the London Symphony Orchestra, a new punk musical, and the premiere of a Sam Shepard play. Tourist will have much more space for walks thanks to the Ebrington Square, reopened in 2012 and the Peace Bridge, which links the predominantly Catholic and Protestant sides of the city. Great news is that the airline prices are expected to decrease, because in 2012 several airlines have added more flights between Belfast and London.

7Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs is set in the middle of one of the most beautiful desert landscapes in USA; not in vain it has long been heralded as California's desert oasis. The cosmopolitan feel and the surrounding areas of La Quinta and Rancho Mirage, are all you need for a great vacation whether you are looking for active outdoors or urban sophistication. Lately it has become a refuge for bargain-seeking travelers, because airline tickets prices have fallen about 6%, also Palm Springs International Airport is seeing a spike in traffic – over 16% more passengers flew through in 2012 than in 2011 – and it's also expanding its reach with new, nonstop routes from New York launching in December through Virgin America. On the other hand, Palm Springs is working hard to ensure visitors with accommodations. Since 2008, over 1,600 new hotel rooms were constructed and an active tourism program was launched to boost the local economy. Palm Springs is among the top 10 domestic markets for new vacation rental listings.


After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, which took place in 1993, the Czech Republic and Slovakia started developing in different ways. Czech Republic, led by spectacular Prague, became a top destination in Europe, while Slovakia remained more of a quiet hidden gem. This year, on the 20th anniversary of its independence, with one of the fastest growing economies in the EU, Slovakia has opened its doors to tourists promising cheap prices on hotels with wonderful service, a great array of restaurants, bars, clubs, and cheap airline tickets. All of these despite the fact that in recent year the capital city of Bratislava have seen the construction of a luxury riverside five-star resort and a brand-new community-run Jewish cultural centre. Bratislava is more than half as cheap as nearby Vienna, being on top biggest bargains among all major cities in Europe. But Slovaks have prepared for tourists even more: Košice which is Slovakia's second city. Košice will share with Marseille the title of European Capital of Culture in 2013. Košice is a very well-preserved city, dating back to the 12th century; it boasts the largest cathedral in Slovakia, the Gothic St. Elizabeth. But the focus will be on future, visitors will have the opportunity to see the contemporary art, an experimental theater, and modern dance, with performances and exhibits throughout the year right in the city's 19th-century military barracks which have been converted into Kulturparks.

9The Bahamas

Travelling to Bahamas always has been affordable; each island is special – incredible beaches, crystal clear water, and friendly people will accompany you everywhere. From Paradise Island which is best known for the sprawling resort Atlantis and its lush national parks, great snorkeling and diving, underwater caves, and active nightlife, to Bimini Island, a fishing village complete with salty sailors and big game fishermen swapping sea stories in their bare feet, the Bahamas remain a favorite stylish steal for savvy travelers. Tourists will be amazed to find a great array of places where to try the local cuisine which is simply delicious; stop into Twin Brothers for mixed platters of local favorites like conch, snapper. So, don’t think too much on your decision! As Travelocity said, fares to Bahamas fell by 4% last year and the number of visitors increased by 8%, the average airfare to the Bahamas in 2012 was $463.Great news from Bahamas Hotels Association: hotel prices fell by 2.5% from 2011 to 2012.


Toronto has everything to offer for the perfect vacation. Besides museums, great theaters, art galleries, parks, great nightlife and shopping, visitors will be amazed to find plenty of affordable outdoorsy activities like hiking, biking, and canoeing, especially around the Toronto Islands. Because about half of the population was born abroad, the ethnic food scene is as good as it gets anywhere in the world. Beyond Chinatown, Little Italy, and Little India, there is also a Koreatown, Little Portugal, Little Jamaica, and neighborhoods specializing in Polish, Japanese, and Greek cuisine. Accommodations can be found at really fantastic prices here. This is due to the recently massive building boom, more than 30,000 new homes were built over the past year alone. A lot of new hotels are ready to offer the best rooms at great prices and service. According to the 2012 Price Index, the cost of an average room is about $148, just like last year’s. This makes Toronto one of the greatest budget destinations in 2013. Great news is that you don’t need a car while travelling to Toronto. The TTC, or Toronto Transit Comission, is the third largest transit system in North America, and completely simple to navigate.
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