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Going on vacation can be incredibly exciting. What isn't exciting is overspending on your travels!
Not all travel destinations are destined to break the bank, though! There are hundreds of unique places that offer excellent sightseeing, fascinating cultural attractions, mouth-watering cuisine, and more. Here are five of the best budget-friendly travel destinations of 2016.
1.) Sydney, Australia
Global exchange rates make it a great time to travel to Australia. Both naturally beautiful and culturally vibrant, Sydney appeals to travelers of all sensibilities. The city offers dozens of free attractions to travelers and locals alike. Walk from Bondi to Coogee Beach, admiring the cliffs, rock pools, and sandy shores along the way. Admire the lush greenery of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Stroll through the Art Gallery of New South Wales and view thousands of Australian works alongside van Gogh and Monet's masterpieces. Visit the iconic Sydney Opera House, too. With the money you've saved on sightseeing you can indulge in a fancy meal or two! If you've always wanted to visit Australia, take the plunge and head "down under" this year!
2.) Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi is an enchanting city you'll surely never forget. With just $20 USD ($26 CAD/£15) per day savvy travelers can afford lodging, delicious cuisine, and sightseeing. Those with a slightly higher budget can enjoy everything that the city has to offer. Indulge in the coffee, beer, and busy street culture of Hanoi's Old Quarter or take a moment to relax and tour the temple on Hoàn Kiếm Lake. View the body of Hồ Chí Minh at the mausoleum and grab some phở noodle soup from a street vendor. Museum lovers will enjoy learning more about the nation's rich culture at the Vietnamese Women's Museum and the Museum of Ethnology. With beautiful architecture, mouth-watering food, and a fascinating history, Hanoi is one of the most captivating cities to visit on a budget.
3.) Phoenix, Arizona, USA
In Phoenix, the beauty of the desert meets the energy of a booming modern metropolis. The Phoenix-Scottsdale area has experienced a travel boom in recent years due to its affordable prices and abundance of cultural attractions. Hike, bike, or ride a horse through South Mountain Park, which offers stunning views of the desert and the city skyline. Drop by the Phoenix Art Museum on Wednesday evenings to view Western American art and a visually stunning fashion collection free of charge. Climb past cacti on your way to the top of Camelback Mountain or spend a day touring the city's massive Musical Instrument Museum. Whether you're a nature lover or a connoisseur of culture, Phoenix has something just for you.
4.) Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is among the most enthralling cities in Europe. Travelers rave that this capital's vibrant culture and diverse cuisine make it a destination worth visiting more than once. Walk through the city and admire the stunning architecture of the Hungarian Parliament Building. Try lángos, a deep-fried flatbread topped with delicious ingredients like garlic butter, cheese, and sour cream or enjoy a rich slice of Dobos torte, a chocolate buttercream sponge cake with a caramel topping. Visit Fisherman's Bastion, a stunning terrace that offers a picturesque view of the city and the Danube. Visit the Budapest Pinball Museum and play to your heart's content. Unwind at the end of the day in one of the city's many historic thermal baths. In Budapest, you can indulge in good food and great fun without fretting over travel expenses.
5.) Bogotá, Colombia
Bogotá is a vibrant city where your funds are guaranteed to go a long way. Standard accommodations cost only $60-$80 USD per night and a nice lunch will set you back a mere $5. Street foods like coco frito (fried coconut), arepas (flatbread), and empanadas (fried, meat-filled pastries) will keep you full as you explore the city's many museums and natural sights. See the works of famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero at the free Museo Botero. History buffs can tour the Museo Nacional to learn more about Colombian history. On a sunny day, travel to Lake Guatavita, a stunning blue-green lagoon reported to have spawned the legend of El Dorado. Adventurous travelers will discover that Bogotá is a truly magical place.
Whether you choose to visit one of these locations or another popular travel destination, remember that it is always possible to have a great time while sticking to a budget. By booking your accommodations early and visiting free attractions, you can make your upcoming travels as affordable as possible.
Photo: (c) Brian Kinney /fotolia.com