According to the National Travel and Tourism Office, international travel from the United States went up by 8% last year. So if you’re an American who wants to see the rest of the world without breaking your bank, we wanted to offer you some tips regarding places you can fly round-trip to for under $1,000. Each of these international destinations was tested from Atlanta for a flight a month in advance. Of course, there are airports that offer lower rates, and you will get an even better rate the further in advance you book your flights. Also remember that flights are generally less expensive on weekends. Whether you’re looking for great places to go relax, see the sights, revel in the nightlife and great food, enjoy the architecture and history, or just get away for a few days, there are a number of destinations that can be thoroughly enjoyed on a fairly modest budget.
15. Belize City, Belize
If you’re looking for jungle adventures with waterfalls, Mayan ruins, and caves, you might want to go visit Belize, one of the world’s last unspoiled destinations. Featuring some of the best dive sites in the Caribbean, many call it “Mother Nature’s best kept secret.” Home to the 2nd biggest barrier reef in the world, Belize may just be the perfect place to take a romantic vacation while considering the budget. Belize is the only country in Central America where the official language is English, and although you’ll still hear Spanish, Garifuna, Creole, and a number of Mayan Languages, for those who don’t want to carry around a translation book, it’s an ideal destination. Modern hotels can be booked for less than 100$ a night. They make excellent wine, and the food is both delicious and affordable.
14. Berlin, Germany
Nine times bigger than Paris, Berlin has the largest train station in Europe, and with more than 175 museums, there’s plenty to see and do. Beyond just the modern and contemporary art of the sprawling Hamburger Bahnhof, the Jewish Museum, and the East Gallery (which is free), there is also the Berlin Wall Memorial and a lengthy section of the Berlin Wall, now covered in graffiti. For getting around, rent a kayak or take a boat tour through more than 180 km of navigable waterways. Outdoor markets like the Mauerpark Flea Market, and places like the Berlin Mall, the KaDeWe and the Gallery Lafayette offer great shopping and amazing culinary experiences. Berlin is filled with great bars and entertainment venues with an extremely active nightlife, featuring some of the biggest, outlandish clubs in Europe.
13. Budapest, Hungary
One of the lesser-discussed Eastern European cities, Budepest divided by the Danube River into two parts (you guessed it, Buda and Pest). It has a a young, hip nightlife scene and hosts one of the biggest music festivals the the world every August, when around 400,000 people from all over the world come to the Sziget Festival. History buffs can tour the Parliament building, the hilltop Castle District and Memento Park, where you can see the collection of communist statues that once populated the city before the regime change. With more thermal springs than any other capital city in the world, over 70 million liters of thermal springs rising every day, it’s also a great place for medicinal baths.
12. Edinburgh, Scotland
Home to the largest theater festivals in the world, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August is a great time for theater goers to visit Edinburgh, with over 3,000 shows to tantalize the imagination. Or visit in the summer and catch a concert at the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade. With more trees per head of any other United Kingdom city, it also features a number of free museums like the National Museum of Scotland, the Museum of Edinburgh, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, the National Galleries, and the Museum of Childhood. For history buffs, Edinburh has more listed buildings than anywhere else on the planet, with about 16 thousands historical buildings celebrating its various epochs of cultural development.There’s also a lot of great shopping in the boutiques of Stockbridge, Thistle Street, Rose Street, the Grassmarket and the West End.
11. Lima, Peru
Home to roughly 9 million people, Lima is the fifth largest city in South America. The unofficial gastronomical capital of South America. While ceviche was invented in Peru, it was mastered in Lima. Of course, you’ve also got to try some of the local cocktails and beverages, as there are bars throughout the city, and a vibrant nightlife that doesn’t even get started until after 11 pm. If you’re looking for some place to get away from the cold months of winter in North America, Lima will be celebrating the long days of summer. Whether you’re a short boarder or a long boarder, Lima also has some really great surfing. You may also want to hike the Inca Trail and visit some of the most beautiful and mysterious sites in the world, including the impressive ruins in the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.
10. Montreal, Canada
If Europe seems a little too pricey, you may want to try visiting Montreal. It’s got great architecture and culture, and it features a number of beautiful museums and festivals for music and the arts, nearly 100 multi-day events each year. After Paris, Montréal is the second largest French speaking city in the world, and after New York, it has the second highest number of restaurants per capita in North America. If you like the outdoors, Montreal offers more than 500km of bike routes and paths. If you want to stay inside, Montreal has a multi-level network of shops, businesses, restaurants, hotels, and concert halls in their Underground City, connected by over 20 miles (32 kilometers) of metro stations.
9. New Delhi, India
For some amazing sights, sounds, and smells, try a trip to New Delhi. With 5,000 years of history, the red sandstone monument of Humayun’s Tomb, the 16th century Red Fort, and a three hour drive to the world famous Taj Mahal, there is plenty to explore. There also more than a dozen food tours that allow you to taste of the many facets of Indian cuisine. And there are plenty of ways to get around and explore. Although New Delhi has the highest number of registered cars in India, its public transport system runs entirely on compressed natural gas, for those looking a more eco-friendly way to see the sights. Even though it is home to a fifth of the world’s population, New Delhi is also considered one of the greenest cities in the world, with 20% of its landmass is covered by forests.
8. Prague, Czech Republic
If you want to visit Europe, and you really like beer, Prague just might be the best choice for you. Brewing beer since 993, the Czech Republic is the #1 beer drinking country in the world, with the average person drinking an average of 43 gallons a year. It’s also a great place to go explore castles. With over 2000 castles still standing, Prague is also home to the Prague castle, the largest castle in the world with an area of over 7 hectares (18 acres). Usually not as crowded as Paris or London, Prague still offers rich culture, a vibrant nightlife, and some truly incredible architecture. For clubgoers, the five-floor Karlovy Lázně is the largest in Central Europe.
7. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
For warm weather all year round, Puerto Vallarta remains in the mid-seventies even on its coldest days. The capital of Mariachi music, there is great music all over the city, and the kindness of its people have earned it the title of “World’s Most Friendly City” by Condé Nast Travel magazine. For those who love the beach and watersports, Banderas Bay is both one of the deepest bays in the world at over 900 meters deep, and one of the top 10 largest bays in the world, 42 kilometers wide from point to point, making it a great place for surfing, whale watching, or scuba diving. Over 30 art galleries featuring local, national and international artists call Puerto Vallarta home, and the town is well known for its variety of sculptures, like Rafael Zamarripa’s “The Seahorse.”
6. Reykyavik, Iceland
Two degrees south of the Arctic Circle and one of the best places in the world to see the Aurora Borealis, Reykjavik also features a number of free national parks for nature lovers, such as Snaefellsjoekull and Reykjanesfolkvangur. You also may want to try out the soothing allure of the Blue Lagoon geothermal springs. And you’re bound to run into a few puffins on your tour as an estimated 60% of the entire world puffin population, 3 or 4 million pairs, nests in Iceland, Reykjavík being the only capital city in the world that is home to a major puffin breeding colony. That’s probably one of the reasons that raw puffin heart is considered a delicacy. One thing they don’t have, thankfully, is mosquitoes.
5. Saint Petersburg, Russia
With enough canals to give Venice a run for its money, the capital city of Russia has 600 bridges, 22 of them drawbridges. The city also boasts over 70 theatres and 300 museums, including the Hermitage, which is the oldest museum in the world and the second largest. Filled with classical sculptures, royal gardens, baroque palaces, and grandiose cathedrals, Saint Petersburg is a living museum. Saint Petersburg also offers nearly 80 musical and theatrical festivals each year. Of course, it’s not all about the history. Modern art also abounds at places like the Loft Project ETAGI, a multifunctional creative space featuring galleries, bookstores and hip cafes, and the New Holland Island, a former industrial area tranformed into a visual and performing arts space. Plus, with roughly 300 bars, pubs and night clubs, Saint Petersburg holds the status of being the gastronomic capital of Russia.
4. San Jose, Costa Rica
To embrace your wild side, a visit to San Jose might be in order. The city was built right in the middle of a tropical rainforest, so just a short trip out of town will put you among 5% of the world’s biodiversity, including sloths, monkeys, and over 52 different species of hummingbird. However, since the government has invest in their police force, San Jose is one of the safest cities in Central America, probably one of the reasons it’s considered one of the happiest places on Earth. Historic neighborhoods like Barrio Amon feature colonial mansions that are now home to restaurants and galleries. Costa Rico is also becoming more well known for its craft beers, and it offers some of the best coffee in the world.
3. São Paulo, Brazil
Rio may be the more popular Brazilian destination, but São Paulo offers its own share of world-class gastronomy, buzzing nightlife, and vibrant street art. After all, although 1.6 million pizzas are consumed in Brazil every day, approximately 1 million of them are eaten in São Paulo. And when you get your fill of pizza, the Japanese community in São Paulo is the largest settlement of Japanese people outside of Japan, ensuring that you’ll find plenty of great Japanese food to go along with all of the other great Brazilian dishes. São Paulo also hosts approximaely 90,000 events per year, and is home to the graffiti-covered Batman Alley and the Vila Madalena, a rainbow-colored hub for with local painters and filmmakers.
2. Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv, famous for its lively, 24-hour nightlife and beach culture, may be the most vibrant city in the Holy Lane. Often called “the city that never sleeps,” it offers lively entertainment venues, a rich cultural life, and several art galleries and museums, including the Eretz Israel Museum and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Tel Aviv also includes more than 25 miles of bike paths and more than 150 bikeshare stations around town, allowing you to steer clear of the automotive traffic congestion while you explore. There are over 8.7 miles of beautiful beachfront with 13 official beaches, prompting National Geographic to name it the ninth best beach city in the world. For great food, Tel Aviv is home to more than 100 sushi restaurants, the most sushi restaurants per capita after New York City and Tokyo, and the Italian government awarded Tel Aviv’s Pronto the title of “Best Italian Restaurant Outside of Italy.”
1. Victoria, Canada
If you really want to eat in style, Victoria has the second highest number of restaurants per capita in North America, second only to San Francisco, including the oldest Chinatown district in Canada and the second-oldest on the continent after San Francisco. It is also the cycling capital of Canada, featuring an extensive system of hundreds of kilometres of bike lanes and routes in the city, including the incomparable Galloping Goose Regional Trail. That is why 46% of people in Victoria walk, ride or use public transportation to get to work. Golfers have 18 courses to choose from, and there are plenty of architectural wonders like the Parliament buildings, which are free to visit and glisten with over 3,560 lights at night.
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