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.

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1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal LoansFixed rates from 6.58% APR to 14.87% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.275% APR to 12.575% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of July 16, 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 6.275% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.10% plus 4.175% 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.
  2. 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 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  • 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.

* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

  • 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
7.73% – 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000
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6.28% – 14.87%1$5,000 - $100,000
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6.87% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% – 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000
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4.99% – 29.99%$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
5.99% – 18.99%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% – 34.49%$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
5.99% – 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.49% – 18.24%$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% – 35.99%$2,000 - $35,000Visit 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.