With peak season coming to an end now is the time to pick up a bargain. September is considered one of the best times to travel – especially in Europe – as temperatures remain high, but prices drop. Here’s our list of where to go if you’re looking to sneak one last vacation in before Christmas.
There’s never been a better time to visit Albania, a country that is sure to top lists and fill up Instagram feeds in the near future, so visit while it’s still a bargain. Today the average cost of a meal comes in at around $7, while a beer will set you back approximately $1. With plenty of low-cost carrier options getting there is simple or, better yet, include it in your pan-European adventure to save even more. Once there you’ll be able to experience all the natural beauty and ancient history of cities including Tirana and Berat.
La Palma’s obscurity is every budget traveller’s gain. Don’t be fooled by the popularity of Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria – La Palma, the most north westerly Canary Island, is also considered the most beautiful. Accommodation at one of La Palma’s boutique hostels starts at around $15 a night, while a good meal from one of the local purveyors can cost as little as $6. Most of La Palma’s attractions are free, including the Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente, which includes a walk around its dormant volcano.
The value of the peso has been falling steadily against the dollar, and this is one reason why tourism to Central America is on the rise. With the average cost of a meal as little as $5, it’s not only the monarch butterflies migrating south – Mexico has been enjoying a major tourism boom over the past few years. The number of cheap holiday resorts in destinations (including Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Puerto Vallarta) are staggering and you’re sure to find good value for your money, along with beautiful golden sandy beaches and azure lagoons to explore.
Sofia has the feel of a major European city but at a fraction of the price. With a reputation for culture and the arts, Sofia is a Balkan capital you can expect to hear about in 2018. Here even backpackers can afford some luxury, with a three -course meal at a good restaurant costing around $12, and a tasty local beer as little as $1. Many of Sofia’s main attractions are either free or cheap, including a visit to St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral museum (entry $3–4) or the National Museum of History (entry $6–7).
While not the cheapest destination in Colombia, Cartagena is amazing value considering its reputation as one the most beautiful towns on South America’s Caribbean coastline. Explore cobblestone streets, towering cathedrals and brightly coloured walls for free while only spending around $20–30 per night on accommodation. Walk the city walls, visit the fort and take in the street art of Getsemaní district before trying the local cuisine.
Tunisian tourism has suffered in the last couple of years after tragedy rocked one of its most popular resorts. Finally reopened to tourists, now is the time to visit. Tunisia is known for having some of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful beaches, not to mention delicious local cuisine. It is a hotbed of up-and-coming African artists whose work can be found across its cities, not least of all the capital Tunis.
Admittedly, the $37 admission fee to visit Angkor Wat temple is pricey, but you’ll still want to visit this UNESCO heritage site. Siem Reap is home to some of the cheapest hostel beds in the world and even a 3* hotel can cost as little as $7 per night. You can pick up a good meal and local draft beer for under $5 and there’s plenty to do beside the temple to make staying two, or even three days worthwhile.
Once considered a necessary but unwelcome stopover (much like Bangkok), Manila is starting to become a destination in its own right. Due to unpredictable weather, autumn is the cheapest time to fly from the states (approximately $550) but the cooler temperatures won’t stop you from having an amazing time. The National Museum of the Philippines is free to visit and attractions across Manila are generally cheap – as is the food and accommodation.
This Mediterranean gem is (on average) one of the cheapest places to holiday in the world. The average cost of a hotel room in Antalya is just $57 per night (including at three- and four-star hotels), while a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costs as little as $16. The resort city is teaming with hidden beaches and sandy shores from which you’ll only want to take a break to try some of the delicious local cuisine.
September is a great month to visit one of Eastern Europe’s most popular destinations. The summer crowds have dispersed and the weather is still good enough to explore the city on foot. Hotels in Krakow are cheap, as are its restaurants. Take one of the free walking tours or visit Wawel Castle ($4–5 admission fee) and the Bunker of Contemporary Art ($3–4) and there are museums aplenty to explore.
Not only is Ho Chi Minh one of the cheapest Southeast Asian destinations to reach from the US, many of its best attractions can be visited for free or under a dollar. Explore temple after temple; tall, narrow alleyways teeming with local merchants; and museums dedicated to the country’s war-torn past – all for less than a morning cup of joe. Pick up a banh mi sandwich (a true East-meets-West recipe) for 50 cents, which will keep you going most of the day.
September is also a great time to visit Greece. The sea has had all summer to heat up and the sun isn’t as intense as previous months, allowing you to see more than just the bottom of a parasol on your holiday. Air fares and accommodation become a lot cheaper once the school terms start and as Crete’s second largest city (after Heraklion) you’re also more likely to find a bargain in Chania. This ancient town is full of archaeological attractions and amazing local cuisine.
Cheap to visit and even cheaper once you’re there, Cuba is perhaps the ultimate destination for someone looking for an amazing experience without breaking the bank. You can pick up a meal for two at mid-range restaurant for as little as $11 and cocktails for under $4, which is perfect because the island is home to some of the best you’re ever likely to try. Colectivos are cheap taxis that help you get around.
Want more travel inspiration? Here’s 13 really underrated places in Europe you need to visit now!