7 Cheap Alternatives to Today’s Most Popular Travel Destinations

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Cheap alternatives to Popular travel Destinations, a ship on the sea near Little Corn Island
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If your heart is set on seeing the Statue of Liberty or the Mona Lisa, you can’t do that without visiting New York City or Paris, respectively.

But if you want to save money on travel and aren’t picky about the specifics, it’s possible to save money and get a similar experience by choosing a different destination.

We’ve put together a list of seven cheap alternatives to some of the hottest travel destinations in the world. Your actual costs for each destination can vary depending on your budget, where you stay, and what you do.

But to give you some ballpark figures, we’ve used data from Lonely Planet and Google Flights to show you what it might cost per day for budget, midrange, and high-end travel plans. Prices shown below are current as of late June 2018.

1. Little Corn Island, Nicaragua, instead of the Maldives

Little Corn Island The Maldives
Budget (up to) $35 $400
Midrange $35 to $80 $400 to $850
High-end (more than) $80 $850

The primary appeal of the Maldives is its remoteness. To get there, you have to take several flights and then board a ferry, speedboat, or seaplane to get to your final destination.

But you can have a similar experience for a whopping one-tenth of the price on Little Corn Island. Located roughly 50 miles off the east coast of Nicaragua, you must first fly to Big Corn Island. Once there, you’ll take a boat to Little Corn Island, where you can enjoy the beach and seclusion without the hefty price tag.

“We have always wanted to go to the Maldives but ended up going to the Caribbean instead,” said Ruby Escalona, a travel blogger at A Journey We Love. “It’s still a beach destination but much cheaper to fly to if coming from the U.S. Plus, you have more choices for flights to the Caribbean.”

2. Curacao instead of the Bahamas

Curacao Bahamas
Budget (up to) $80 $300
Midrange $80 to $200 $300 to $500
High-end (more than) $200 $500

Located in the Caribbean near Venezuela, Curacao has a beautiful mix of European architecture and tropical vibes. The island has more than 35 beaches and is surrounded by a fringing coral reef, making it perfect for snorkeling.

So if it’s a traditional tropical getaway you’re looking for, skip the higher prices on the Bahamas and visit Curacao instead.

3. Portland, Oregon, instead of Seattle

Portland Seattle
Budget (up to) $100 $125
Midrange $100 to $250 $125 to $250
High-end (more than) $250 $250

On the surface, the cost difference between these two cities in the Pacific Northwest may seem negligible. But what tips the scale in favor of Portland is Oregon’s lack of a sales tax.

This means that you can shop for arts and crafts at the city’s Saturday Market, stock up on books at Powell’s Books, or visit the city’s gardens and museums at Washington Park without paying a dime in sales tax.

Of course, the small price difference may make the three-hour drive up to Seattle worth it, but there’s plenty to do in Portland to keep you busy.

4. Galway, Ireland, instead of Dublin

Galway Dublin
Budget (up to) $93 $174
Midrange $93 to $174 $174 to $289
High-end (more than) $174 $289

Dublin is rich in history and culture. But if you want a more charming and inexpensive Irish experience, take a two-hour drive west and stop in Galway.

Galway is home to the majestic Kylemore Abbey, picturesque castles, and all the pubs you can handle. It’s also the gateway to a beautiful coast that includes a coral beach and stunning coastal cliffs.

If you don’t want to skip Dublin, you can spend a day or two in the capital city and the rest of your stay in Galway.

5. Jacksonville, Florida, instead of Miami

Jacksonville Miami
Budget (up to) $140 $150
Midrange $140 to $250 $150 to $300
High-end (more than) $250 $300

South Beach and the vibrant Cuban culture in Miami’s Little Havana are a sight to behold. But if you want to get the most bang for your buck in Florida, head to the north end of the state’s Atlantic coast.

Jacksonville was included in Lonely Planet’s list of best value destinations and is home to more shoreline than any other city in the U.S., including 22 miles of beaches. I don’t know about you, but I’d say smaller crowds at the beach are always a good thing.

6. Vietnam instead of Singapore

Vietnam Singapore
Budget (up to) $40 $146
Midrange $40 to $100 $146 to $293
High-end (more than) $100 $293

If you’re heading to Southeast Asia, you’ll get a lot more value if you visit Vietnam instead of Singapore. Plan your visit during one of the monthly lantern festivals in Hoi An, or drink in the view of the limestone towers of Halong Bay.

Then, head to the Ho Chi Minh City Museum in Ho Chi Minh City to learn about the country’s history, which has been, at times, both beautiful and terrible. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll save money doing it.

7. Montreal instead of Paris

Montreal Paris
Budget (up to) $100 $116
Midrange $100 to $200 $116 to $290
High-end (more than) $200 $290

Once you get there, Paris isn’t that much more expensive than Montreal. But a flight across the Atlantic Ocean costs more than twice as much as it does to cross the border into Canada.

For example, the cheapest flight we found to Paris from JFK International Airport in New York in late summer was $534. Head to Montreal, however, and you’ll pay as little as $252.

You’ll experience a European ambiance when walking through Old Montreal, and there’s no shortage of French restaurants. You’ll also have an opportunity to practice your French as it’s the official language of the city and province.

Do your research before you go

If you have travel plans coming up, it’s always a good idea to find ways to save money on your trip. That can mean opting for a similar but cheaper destination or finding other ways to keep your travel costs in check.

“We self-cater some days to save on food costs and look for fun and free activities in the destinations we go to,” said Escalona. “We also set a maximum we will spend for every category of our trip. For example, we only pay a maximum of $130 per night for hotels or Airbnb, and a maximum of $600 per person roundtrip for a flight.”

The important thing is that you take a step back and consider all of your options. That way, you can enjoy your trip without regretting its price tag.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderAPR RangeLoan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal Loans: Fixed rates from 6.990% APR to 14.865% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.255% APR to 12.555% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 1, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.255% APR assumes current index rate derived from the 1-month LIBOR of 2.08% plus 4.425% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

    To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.See Consumer Licenses.
  2. Minimum Credit Score: Not all applicants who meet SoFi’s minimum credit score requirements are approved for a personal loan. In addition to meeting SoFi’s minimum eligibility criteria, applicants must also meet other credit and underwriting requirements to qualify.
  3. SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Maximum interest rate on loans for residents of AK and WY is 9.99% APR, for residents of IL with loans over $40,000 is 8.99% APR, for residents of TX is 9.99% APR on terms greater than 5 years, for residents of CO, CT, HI, VA, SC is 11.99% APR, and for residents of ME is 12.24% APR. Personal loans not available to residents of MI who already have a student loan with SoFi. Personal Loans minimum loan amount is $5,000. Residents of AZ, MA, and NH have a minimum loan amount of $10,001. Residents of KY have a minimum loan amount of $15,001. Residents of PA have a minimum loan amount of $25,001. Variable rates not available to residents of AK, TX, VA, WY, or for residents of IL for loans greater than $40,000.
  4. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.

Payoff Disclosures

  1. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. Currently loans are not offered in: MA, MS, NE, NV, OH, and WV.

3 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.

FreedomPlus Disclosures

  1. All loans available through FreedomPlus.com are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loan and rate terms are subject to eligibility restrictions, application review, credit score, loan amount, loan term, lender approval, and credit usage and history. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Loans are not available to residents of all states – please call a FreedomPlus representative for further details. The following limitations, in addition to others, shall apply: FreedomPlus does not arrange loans in: (i) Arizona under $10,500; (ii) Massachusetts under $6,500, (iii) Ohio under $5,500, and (iv) Georgia under $3,500. Repayment periods range from 24 to 60 months. The range of APRs on loans made available through FreedomPlus is 4.99% to a maximum of 29.99%. APR. The APR calculation includes all applicable fees, including the loan origination fee. For Example, a four year $20,000 loan with an interest rate of 15.49% and corresponding APR of 18.34% would have an estimated monthly payment of $561.60 and a total cost payable of $7,948.13. To qualify for a 4.99% APR loan, a borrower will need excellent credit on a loan of $15,000 with a term of 24 months, and qualify for at least two of the following discounts: (1) add a co-borrower who has sufficient income; (2) use at least fifty percent of the loan proceeds to directly pay off existing debt; or (3) show proof of having at least forty-thousand dollars in retirement savings – contact FreedomPlus for further details.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

5 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.

LendingPoint Disclosures

  • Loan approval is not guaranteed. Actual loan offers and loan amounts, terms and annual percentage rates (“APR”) may vary based upon LendingPoint’s proprietary scoring and underwriting system’s review of your credit, financial condition, other factors, and supporting documents or information you provide. Origination or other fees from 0% to 6% may apply depending upon your state of residence. Upon LendingPoint’s final underwriting approval to fund a loan, said funds are often sent via ACH the next non-holiday business day. LendingPoint makes loan offers from $2,000 to $25,000, at rates ranging from a low of 15.49% APR to a high of 34.49% APR, with terms from 24 to 48 months. The loan offer(s) shown reflect a 28 day payment cycle which is being offered as a courtesy as many of our customers are paid on a biweekly schedule and thus this may better align the loan payment dates with your actual income receipt schedule.

6 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.

LendingClub Disclosures

All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage & history. The APR ranges from 6.95% to 35.89%*. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% of the original principal balance and is deducted from your loan proceeds. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at the time of application. The average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,025 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or be in the United States on a valid long term visa and at least 18 years old. Valid bank account and Social Security number are required. Equal Housing Lender. All loans are subject to credit approval. LendingClub’s physical address is: LendingClub, 71 Stevenson Street, Suite 1000, San Francisco, CA 94105.

†Per reviews collected and authenticated by Bazaarvoice in compliance with the Bazaarvoice Authentication Requirements, supported by anti-fraud technology and human analysis. All reviews can be reviewed at reviews.lendingclub.com

**Based on approximately 60% of borrowers who received offers through LendingClub’s marketing partners between January 1, 2018 to July 20,2018. The time it will take to fund your loan may vary.


7 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

  1. Earnest does not lend in Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Nevada, or Rhode Island.

8 Important Disclosures for Avant.

Avant Disclosures

* The actual rate and loan amount that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and other factors. Funds are generally deposited via ACH for delivery next business day if approved by 4:30pm CT Monday-Friday. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

** Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33


* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

* Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification and review process. You may be asked to provide additional documents to enable us to verify your income and your identity. This rate includes an Autopay APR reduction of 0.5%. By enrolling in Autopay your payments will be automatically deducted from you bank account. Selecting Autopay is optional. Annual Percentage Rate is inclusive of a loan origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. All loans made by WebBank, member FDIC. Please refer to Upgrade’s Terms of Use and Borrower Agreement for all terms, conditions and requirements.

** Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.

7.73% – 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000

Visit Upstart

6.26% – 14.87%1$5,000 - $100,000

Visit SoFi

6.99% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000

Visit Upgrade

5.99% – 24.99%2$5,000 - $35,000

Visit Payoff

4.99% – 29.99%3$10,000 - $35,000

Visit FreedomPlus

5.99% – 18.99%4$5,000 - $50,000

Visit Citizens

15.49% – 34.49%5$2,000 - $25,000

Visit LendingPoint

6.95% – 35.89%6$1,000 - $40,000

Visit LendingClub

6.99% – 18.24%7$5,000 - $75,000

Visit Earnest

9.95% – 35.99%8$2,000 - $35,000

Visit Avant

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.