An avid dealnews reader is probably aware of which travel destinations are regularly featured in promotional sales; for example, we frequently list deals on hotels and flight packages to Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, and Orlando, among others, almost weekly. But if you're not keen on the usual budget hot spots, where should you head?
Our friends at Bundle.com talked to April D. Thompson, travel marketing consultant and founder of the blog AbsoluteTravelAddict.com, as well as Deborah Peniuk, owner of the health/wellness travel agency AYA Life, about affordable travel destinations you may not have considered. Here's a look at their top picks.
American tourists flock to France and Spain but many overlook Portugal's Old World charms. Thompson recommends Lisbon, which offers cultural attractions like the Berardo Collection Museum (which is free) and the pictured Castelo de São Jorge, a Medieval castle overlooking the city. Thompson says Lisbon's hotels and restaurants offer some of the best values in Western Europe and the city's public transportation means there's no need to rent a car. "You can get the Lisboa Card which is a discount card that offers deep discounts to many sights and free public transportation," she adds. For adventure or food-minded travelers, Peniuk suggests exploring Portugal's Azores Islands, where accommodations and excursions can be even cheaper than Lisbon.
San Diego, California
Although San Diego has a reputation as a party destination, Peniuk says the city has branched out in recent years. "You've got water attractions [SeaWorld San Diego is a popular one] and water sports, great beaches, and easy access to California's major highways if you want to use San Diego as your home base," she says. Hotels in San Diego are often cheaper than in Los Angeles, but near enough to take a day trip to the City of Angels without paying LA hotel rates.
Luckily, we frequently sees deals on San Diego properties, like the pictured Editors' Choice offer for stays at The Paradise Point Resort and Spa (from $109 per night via coupon code "TCKR09", a low by $41; expires October 2).
Kansas City, Missouri
Peniuk says Kansas City is an under-rated travel destination that offers great BBQ restaurants and beautiful art galleries. Cultural attractions include the pictured Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. History buffs may want to check out historic Westport or the Lone Jack Civil War Battlefield Museum. The area also boasts "a lot of convention hotels where you can often get great bargains," adds Peniuk.
Other parts of Jamaica may be more popular with tourists, but according to Thompson, "you can find great deals in Portland because it's not as frequented." The area was once a favorite destination among wealthy families from the UK, so it boasts large, awe-inspiring architecture. Sun yourself on a free public beach like Winnifred Beach (pictured) or soak up the views at Reach Falls, one of Jamaica's most picturesque waterfalls. Thompson says most visitors fly into Montego Bay or Kingston, but the drive to Portland offers breathtaking views along the way.
Thompson calls Atlanta "the New York of the South without New York prices." This bustling Southern city features attractions like the World of Coke, Centennial Olympic Park (which has free jazz concerts and other events), and the world's largest aquarium. Outdoor enthusiasts might enjoy hiking the mountains in Northern Georgia or tubing on the Chattahoochee River. Thompson suggests looking outside Atlanta's downtown area for the best hotel values.
Once you've found a budget location of interest, you still might want to set up a dealnews email alert for any relevant hotel or airfare sales that can assist in keeping costs down. Also check out Bundle.com's restaurant ratings, for wherever you're going, so you can be sure that your money is well spent once you get there.