A new year is approaching, and with the new calendar date comes new excitement and (if you’re like me) new bucket list destinations. As 2020 creeps closer each day, there are some absolutely stunning cultural cities that I’m dreaming of visiting in the new year. Luckily, many of these places are affordable destinations too!
For those of us who have a budget in mind… good news! With the increased demand for affordable transportation, websites like JustFly are rising the occasion and pumping out some of the cheapest flights I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s a pretty incredible time to be a budget traveler. Here are four affordable destinations I’m adding to my 2020 travel plans …and you should to)!
Mexico City, Mexico
With affordable, direct flights connecting it to many popular US cities, Mexico City has quickly become a cultural hub for budget travelers! Flying from New York is a grand total of five hours, making it an excellent choice for a long weekend or over a holiday break.
Mexico City is a perfect affordable destination for cultural travelers. So, if you happen to be a traveler who longs for meaningful, historical, authentic experiences – look no further. As one of America’s earliest cities, Mexico City is stocked with many artifacts of the ancient world, museums, art exhibits and more.
Be sure to check out Mexico City’s Coyoacán neighborhood, dotted with beautifully aged architecture, as well bright and vivid colored homes and foliage. Mexico City’s culinary scene is also top notch! Foodie travelers will love its traditional, family-owned restaurants and appreciation for authentic flavors. Some of my personal eatery favorites? El Moro’s churros, Azul Historico’s one of a kind gaucamole with crickets and Cafe Don Porfirio for one of the best views in the whole city!
Johannesburg, South Africa
After just returning from a whirlwind trip to Johannesburg, I can confirm that the city is truly one that will always have me coming back for more. Johannesburg city is rapidly changing… making it a joy to rediscover time and time again. Johannesburg was my first solo trip I ever took, and it has a nostalgic and meaningful place in my heart. That said – I think the city is one of the most contrasting and intriguing environments out there.
Jo’burg’s friendly, chilled out vibe is incredibly welcoming to outsiders. Check out the city’s Apartheid Museum to learn about its troubled past and gain and understand of the context in which the city views its future. It’s a seriously moving experience. Also be sure to explore its up and coming neighborhood, Maboneng… its hipster feel will have you questioning where in the world you are! Feeling a bit more adventurous? The city’s relativity to some of South Africa’s most amazing wildlife reserve and game lands makes it a very special location for safari departures.
Budget travelers, something to keep in mind – your flight will perhaps be your biggest purchase for this trip! However, I’ve found that after landing, costs are very cheap (when exchanging the US dollar)… making it a relatively affordable destination all things considered.
Real adventure seekers, 2020 is your year to discover the mystery of Cairo! Egypt is so much more than just ancient pyramids and camel rides through the desert. Trust me on this. Cairo is rich with wonder and adventurous excursions galore. Better yet, the country of Egypt is a relatively affordable destination for the adventurous soul with an innate curiosity for our ancient human history.
Egypt’s large and expansive capital, Cairo, set on the Nile River, is filled with some of the world’s most prized and studied relics. After visiting the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx At Giza, and the Step Pyramid of Djoser At Saqqara – be sure to take a jaunt over to the city’s Antiquities Museum & Mummy Room. I truly believe that traveling responsibly means also investing in educating ourselves about other cultures – so I absolutely recommend taking an Islamic tour of the area to gain a greater sense of Cairo’s history and perspectives.
Cairo’s flights are extremely affordable if departing from parts of Europe! So, if you just so happen to be on holiday exploring – see if you can add an extra leg to Egypt at a cheaper price. Quite like Johannesburg, I’ve found that the exchange rate makes Cairo an incredibly affordable destination options based on day-to-day expenses.
Portugal has stolen the hearts of international travelers in the past few years. And I have to say, after experiencing the magic of Lisbon, I can’t believe it’s taken this long for many of us to discover it! With its Western location along the Atlantic and many low budget airlines that connect in the city’s airport, there are many affordable flights popping up these days. (P.S. Lisbon is another hub of connecting flights to greater Europe – making it an excellent “long layover” choice!)
Lisbon is truly the hub of goodness – from its slow approach to living, delicious eateries, fresh, natural wines, and a serious appreciation for architecture and tile work. Lisbon’s laid back vibe is the perfect affordable destination for any traveler who wants to soak in the good life while also discovering one of Europe’s hidden gems.
Some of my favorites? A lunch at the Time Out Market, a breezy walking tour of the Alfama district’s homes, an excursion to Tower Belem (with a pit stop at the original pasteis de nata bakery), and a delicious, traditional Portugese dinner by the water! Imagine yourself exploring the hilly cobble stoned streets, popping into antique markets, eating delicious pastries and espresso and finishing the day off with port wine by the city’s waterfront area. Sound like your dream? Add Lisbon to your 2020 bucket list stat!
I don’t know about you, but my bucket list is ever-evolving and changing. But, there’s one aspect that I always find myself valuing – and that’s price! No matter what type of traveler you are, a budget-conscious destination is the best.
Do any of these affordable destinations make your 2020 bucket list? Did you ever consider these four destinations to be affordable options? Or are there other cheaper cities that have you drooling?