The current credit crunch might forcibly confine you to your homes this coming year, but that largely depends on where you’re going. Don’t let the economic slowdown slow you down in 2009. With these budget holiday hotspots, you can satisfy your travel fix with just little cash.
- Waiheke Island, New Zealand. This tropical paradise in the Hauraki Gulf combines quality beaches, award-winning vineyards, and relaxing pasture lands. If you don’t have the shekels to live like a king or queen, there’s no need to worry, for lots of affordable accommodation are available here. Bed and breakfasts, backpackers, home stays, farm stays, holiday homes, and motels will gladly welcome you in this paradise. Island adventures and wine-tasting tours are perfect alternatives for simply lounging in the beach.
- Lassen Volcanic National Park, California, USA. Hot springs, heat vents, sulphur ponds, and dormant volcanoes sound nice … especially if they come with a cheap price. And in Lassen Volcanic National Park, they actually do. Whether you prefer to relax amidst nature by swimming, boating, or fishing, or choose to rough it out by hiking the entire 241-kilometre trail, you won’t go bankrupt in this park.
- Istanbul, Turkey. You won’t need a sultan’s resources in this figuratively hot city. This “World’s Hippest City” lets you party all day with its growing number of peppy night clubs, which are more than its numerous fine Ottoman mosques. Experience the best of Turkish culture in this European City of Culture 2010, with its early preparations of street theatres, where both art and music are a feast.
- Saqqara, Egypt. If you want to see Egyptian pyramids without the rowdy crowds, Saqqara, Egypt is your best bet. Perched on the edge of a desert and looking down at a river valley, this ancient burial ground is home to the world’s oldest standing step pyramid. Unlike Cairo, Saqqara is bounded by lush greenery, offering relaxing holidays with more space and fewer tourists and vendors.
- Washington, DC, USA. Gone are the days of the steep dollar rates. Come 2009, while this US capital is being fuelled by a new governing energy, the metropolis will turn into “one of the world’s greatest budget cities.” Hop from one major attraction to another—Smithsonian Museum, National Monuments, and National Zoo with its giant pandas—and you won’t spend a single penny! Aside from these free attractions, hot hotel bargains are available on weekends, so expect a lot of savings when you hit DC.
- Cartagena, Colombia. The cartel war-related violence and discord are all behind this city now, which means you can safely fly here for an unforgettable holiday coupled with loads of breathtaking beaches and vibrant nightlife. A stunning 17th century colonial architecture and growing foodie scene are some of its bonuses, too.
- Cape Town, South Africa. This beautiful city sitting on the water offers remarkable natural attractions that won’t leave your pockets empty. See multitudes of African Penguins in Boulders Beach or explore Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was detained for 18 years.
- Berlin, Germany. “Drink and be merry” is the mantra in this German city. Revel in hedonistic dance parties or sip cocktails in Kreuzberg. Want to relax in the heart of nature? Head to Tiergarten Park, which features picturesque lakes, canals, palaces, and eco-aware zoo, home of the famous polar bear Knut.