If you’re dreaming of getting out of the U.S. for a vacation but don’t have much money at the moment, there are plenty of international destinations up for grabs. While it’s true that you can easily blow your vacation budget to shreds while traveling internationally, that doesn’t have to be your story.
Instead, you can save a ton by shopping for the best airfare and hotel deals and planning ahead for meals and activities to avoid impulse spends. Before you travel, be sure to stay on top of the current COVID-19 guidelines as they are ever-changing. From romantic and culture-rich European vacations to tropical and relaxing beach destinations, here are 10 exciting and affordable places you can go right now without breaking your bank account.
Last updated: Aug. 11, 2021
If you have your heart set on a European vacation but you don’t want to blow your budget, consider Albania. Albania is a tiny country in Europe with many surprises waiting for travelers, such as affordable fine dining, mountains, beaches and historical culture.
Right now, on Travelocity, you can book a four-night stay with hotel and airfare in the capital city of Tirana for under $1,400 per person. And according to the Republic of Albania Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, there are no general entry restrictions, and a COVID-19 test or any special documentation is not required to enter the country.
Aruba, an island in the Caribbean, boasts white sand beaches and turquoise waters — the perfect backdrop for a budget-friendly tropical vacation if you visit in the off-season of April-August. To start, you can spend time (not money) soaking up the sun and incredible views on one of the island’s beaches, which are considered to be some of the best in the Caribbean and maybe even the world. Rock formations, a massive national park and a donkey sanctuary are other budget-friendly activities you can partake in while vacationing in Aruba.
If you check Travelocity right now, you can snag some great airfare and hotel bundles for a four-night stay for less than $750 per person. But as the off-season ends, prices will go up.
COVID-19 testing is required to enter Aruba and you must purchase Aruba visitors insurance — COVID-19 travel insurance. However, due to ever-changing and extensive entry requirements for this country, check for the most up-to-date information on Visit Aruba.
Located in Central America, Belize offers an abundance of natural wonders at a very affordable price. From its lush rainforest to an underground Mayan world, there are plenty of adventures awaiting visitors in Belize. Plus, the country boasts the second-largest barrier reef in the world, making it a tropical paradise.
On Travelocity right now, you can book a four-night stay with hotel and airfare in Belize for under $600 per person. According to the Belize Tourism Board, all vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers from other countries entering Belize will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 96 hours of travel. If you don’t have a negative COVID-19 test to present, a test will be administered at the airport for $50 per person, except for children under 5 years old.
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Bulgaria, which is located on the Balkan peninsula in the southeastern region of continental Europe, is surrounded by five countries: Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Turkey and Greece. With its low cost of living, multicultural cuisine, fascinating history, striking Balkan Mountains and the famed Black Sea Coast, it’s amazing that it remains one of Europe’s best-kept secrets.
On Travelocity right now, you can book a four-night stay with hotel and airfare for as low as roughly $1,200 per person. If you are unvaccinated, you must present a negative RT-PCR test taken 72 hours before departing to Bulgaria. If you are fully vaccinated and you present an approved vaccination certificate upon arrival, you do not need to present a negative COVID-19 test.
Costa Rica, which is located in Central America, is a stunning country with endless possibilities for adventure. While there, you can enjoy multiple low-cost activities, such as exploring a jungle, visiting one of the volcanoes that define its landscape, or enjoying a leisurely day on one of the country’s beautiful beaches.
On Expedia right now, there are multiple options for a four-night stay with hotel and airfare for $350 or less per person. You won’t need to present proof of a COVID-19 test to vacation in Costa Rica. Vaccinated travelers will be able to enter the country if they carry a vaccination certificate or card and unvaccinated travelers will need to provide proof of a medical insurance policy to cover any COVID-19 related medical treatment or quarantine lodging while in Costa Rica.
If you’re on a budget, you probably want to skip visiting the nearby (and expensive) Galapagos Islands while in the South American country of Ecuador, but there are plenty of other budget-friendly activities available for under $30 per person, including museums, train rides, day trips to volcanoes and mountain hikes.
On Travelocity right now, you can find an affordable airfare and hotel bundle that includes a four-night stay, for between $400-$500 per person. All those traveling to Ecuador, except for children age 2 or younger, must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test, which was taken no more than three days prior to entering the country or proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 at least 14 days before entry.
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If you’ve never been to Mexico, you’ve at least heard of destinations like Cancun and Cozumel. But one of the most affordable places to visit in Mexico is Puerto Vallarta, where you can book a four-night stay at a highly rated, all-inclusive resort, including airfare, for under $600 per person. And when you venture outside the resort, you don’t have to worry about being hit with crazy costs. Budget travelers claim they can dine, drink and enjoy local activities on less than $50 per day. A negative COVID-19 test is not required for entry via airplane into Mexico. However, temperature checks and health screenings may be in effect.
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Portugal is one of the most budget-friendly cities for travelers who are looking to vacation in Western Europe. The country features an agreeable climate, stunning beaches and affordable cuisine. On Travelocity right now, you can find airfare and four-night-stay hotel accommodations for around $1,100 per person. To enter the country, all U.S. travelers, except for children under 12, will need to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test performed within the last 72 hours or a negative rapid antigen test performed within 48 hours of boarding.
If a vacation to Southeast Asia on a budget is your dream, it’s possible to do that by visiting Thailand. The key is to avoid first-class experiences and do as the locals do while in the country, such as eating local Thai food instead of American fare, which can save you a ton of money. You can also save money by visiting the northern side of Thailand as opposed to the more expensive southern side. Available activities include visiting the country’s beautiful temples for free (or very cheap) and its national parks and beaches.
Right now, on Travelocity, you can book a four-night vacation, including hotel and airfare for between $900-$1,000 per person. To enter Thailand, you’ll need to plan ahead a bit. All travelers are required to obtain a Certificate of Entry, which can take up to 15 days. You’ll also need a negative COVID-19 test and at least $100,000 worth of medical insurance, which includes coverage for COVID-19.
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Turks and Caicos
If a Caribbean vacation complete with crystal-clear, turquoise-colored waters and white sandy beaches sounds like a dream come true, you may want to consider booking a trip to the Turks and Caicos, which can be surprisingly affordable.
On Travelocity right now, you can find bundled airfare and hotel for four nights for between $700-$1,000 per person, depending on the type of accommodations you choose. Island food can be pricey but you can cut costs by buying food at the grocery store for breakfasts and lunches. Also, avoid any expensive, tourist-trap dining options with a view; instead, opt for restaurants that are located further inland.
To visit the islands, you’ll first need to visit the TCI portal to obtain travel pre-authorization, so allow extra time. You’ll need to complete an online health-screening questionnaire and submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test (for everyone over the age of 10) taken within five days prior to travel. You’ll also need proof of medical insurance that will cover any COVID-19 healthcare needs that may arise while visiting.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 10 Cheap International Vacations You Can Go On Right Now