Is it just us, or has travel become much more expensive lately? In the spirit of being on a budget, we’ve written about a slew of international destinations and boutique hotels where the US Dollar goes far.
Poland (1 USD = 3.97 Polish Złoty)
Warsaw remains one of the most underrated capitals in Europe. The Old Town, completely rebuilt after World War II, is home to shops, restaurants, and museums. Don’t miss the Muzeum Warszawy, which tells the story of Warsaw from prehistoric times to the present using artifacts, art, and infographics. Vintage lovers will want to rifle around at Lapidarium, where you can dig through old posters, coins, and other unique souvenirs. Elsewhere in the city, creative chefs are putting a modern spin on Polish cuisine at spots like Kieliszki na Próżnej.
Where to Stay: Nobu Hotel is conveniently located between Old Town and the hip shops and cafés around the stylish Śródmieście Południowe neighborhood. Rooms evoke Japanese minimalism with a luxury twist, while the downstairs restaurant might be the most affordable Nobu in the world, thanks to the favorable exchange rate.
Mexico (1 USD = 17.09 Mexican Peso)
Perennially popular Mexico is no longer a budget destination across the board. Fine dining tasting menus in Mexico City can cost a fortune, while cocktails in Tulum are the same price as in New York. In Cabo, even mid-range hotels can cost upwards of $1,000/night. But if you venture off the beaten path, you’ll still find an affordable vacation wonderland. Holbox is a slog to get to (involving planes, cars, and a ferry ride), but once you’re there, the car-free island is a fun and affordable spot with boutique hotels and tasty restaurants. Spend your days lounging on the white sand beach, and visit Raices restaurant for a refreshingly spicy aguachiles.
Where to Stay: Adults-only Aldea Kuka on Isla Holbox feels like a chic bamboo treehouse. Lounge by the serene pool sipping cocktails, or snag one of the beachfront cabanas.
Turkey (1 USD = 30.34 Turkish lira)
Turkey is home to one of the world’s most alluring cities, Istanbul. While some attractions and activities–like a guided tour of Topkapi Palace or a private cruise on the Bosphorus–can be a bit pricey, food and hotels are supremely affordable. Street food snacks like döner kebab will keep the budget light, leaving more money for splurging at one of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants, like Alaf, a cool gastronomic eatery with an interesting natural wine list. In the summer, venture beyond Istanbul for a stay at one of the seaside resorts in Bodrum.
Sri Lanka (1 USD = 313.23 Sri Lankan Rupee)
With ancient ruins, Buddhist temples, dramatically beautiful beaches, and excellent food, Sri Lanka is a dream destination. Hire a driver (or ride the famously photogenic trains) to see as much of the island nation as you can, from jungle hideaways near Yala National Park to surfing hotspots near Tangalle and the temples and ruins near Kandy. While Sri Lanka draws luxury travelers with massive high-end resorts, it’s still an affordable destination with plenty of exciting boutique hotels.
Where to Stay: Stray off the beaten path with a stay in one of the safari tents at Madulkelle, a tea plantation and eco-lodge in the mountains above Kandy.
Morocco (1 USD = 10.00 Moroccan Dirham)
Morocco lures travelers with maze-like markets, dazzling hotels, a dramatic coastline, and the surreal sand dunes of the Sahara. Stylish Marrakech is worth a visit any time of year. It’s easy to spend hours getting lost in the swirling streets of the Medina or admiring the architecture at Jardin Majorelle. Foodies will want to browse the night market at Jemaa el-Fnaa or sign up for a cooking class at La Maison Arabe.
Where to Stay: While Marrakech is home to some of the most luxurious (and most expensive) hotels in the world, the Medina is filled with chic stays. Riad L’Orangeriae feels like a luxury hotel at a fraction of the price, a veritable palace hidden behind an unassuming door.
Indonesia (1 USD = 15,723.10 Indonesian Rupiah)
With over 17,000 islands, Indonesia can be a daunting (and expensive) place to explore. Island-hopping can be tricky, but Bali is an excellent place to start, with plenty of adventures from scuba diving and surfing to white water rafting and hiking. Ubud is the island’s cultural capital, filled with temples and palaces in a dramatic jungle setting. Yes, it’s touristy, but it’s touristy for a reason, with a fascinating culture and stylish hotels in a breathtaking setting.
Where to Stay: Near the town center in Ubud, Adiwana feels like a jungle retreat, with elegant rooms and a dramatic pool overlooking the jungle.
Colombia (1 USD = 3,890.11 Colombian Peso)
While Colombia may seem remote, it’s just a three-hour flight from Miami, making it as accessible as the Caribbean. Wander the colorful streets of Cartagena or visit the Gold Museum in Bogota. And the rainforest in Colombia is a mesmerizing sight (monkey sightings are common).
Where to Stay: Located in the jungle, 30 minutes from Armenia, you’ll love the nature-immersed cabins at Bio Habitat Hotel.