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Neon and store signs in downtown Seoul
Destinos

Alternative Travel Destinations

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Most people have a bucket list of popular destinations that they’ve always wanted to visit. But, even with ways to make air travel affordable (such as financing your flights) — the most popular destinations can be overpriced, and often, overcrowded!

The world is a big place. And while no two cities are exactly the same, for every iconic destination, there’s always a great, less touristic and much cheaper alternative.

We’ve compiled our top picks of cheaper alternatives to the world’s most popular and expensive destinations. So why not go off-the-beaten-track and have those experiences you’ve long been dreaming of, all while saving a ton of money?

Colmar, France, instead of Venice, Italy

Gracefully cruising along sleek and narrow canals while beautiful Italian architecture surrounds you. It’s true. Venice is a dreamland. But, it all comes at a hefty price.

Instead, consider visiting Colmar, a small town in the northeastern region of France. Colmar has all the charm and fairytale magic that Venice has — there’s a beautiful area with a canal, multi-coloured houses and cobblestone streets that is literally named Little Venice — but with much fewer tourists and much cheaper price.

Take me to Colmar, France

The closest airport to Colmar, France is Strasbourg International Airport (SXB). Airlines that fly to Strasbourg include Air Arabia MarocAir FranceASL Airlines FranceArkiaBrussels AirlinesIsrair AirlinesRoyal Air MarocRyanairSunExpressTunisairTwin Jet and Volotea.

A canal running through a traditional French village

 Little Venice, Colmar, France

Seoul instead of Tokyo

Tokyo is one of the most fun and unique places on Earth. Ask anyone who’s been and they’ll tell you they’d return in a heartbeat. However, the downside to Tokyo — and Japan in general – is that you have to be prepared to spend.

Fortunately, there’s South Korea’s capital, Seoul.

One thing we realised when Japan and South Korea co-hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2002 is that the two capital cities aren’t too dissimilar. Although less-hectic, Seoul shares Tokyo’s ambition to be the world’s most innovative city. Their cultures may be different but each city stays true to its history and celebrates its past. And with soaring skyscrapers and neon lights illuminating the sky, they’re aesthetically alike too.

Take me to Seoul

The main international airport in Seoul is Incheon International Airport (ICN). Airlines that fly to Incheon International include AeromexicoAirAsia XAir AstanaAir CanadaAir ChinaAir FranceAlitaliaAmerican AirlinesAsiana AirlinesBritish AirwaysEastar JetJeju AirJin AirKLMKorean AirPeach AviationScootT’way Air and many more.

Neon and store signs in downtown Seoul

 Seoul at night

Franschhoek instead of French & Italian wine regions

Forget Bordeaux and Tuscany. When it comes to sipping wine in a breathtaking setting, Franschhoek in South Africa stands strong with the world’s best wine regions.

With each estate charging only around $3 USD for three/four tastings and no entry fees, the Franschhoek Wine Valley is cheap in everything but quality and taste. But, what really makes Franschhoek standout is the incredibly useful (and fun) hop-on-hop-off tram line. Choose from four different tram lines and visit as many different wineries on the line as you like!

Take me to Franschhoek

The closest airport to Franschhoek is Cape Town International Airport (CPT). You can fly to Cape Town on Air BotswanaAirlink, Air France, Air MauritiusAir Namibia, British Airways, CemAirFlySafairKenya Airways, KLM, KululaMangoQatar AirwaysRwandairSingapore Airlines and South African Airways.

A green tram riding through the South African countryside

 Franschhoek wine tram. Credit: Wikimedia — South African Tourism

Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast instead of the Greek Islands

The Greek Islands are so diverse. Each island has so many different things to offer, that we won’t try to put you off the idea of visiting if your budget allows for it.

However, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast has brilliant weather and beaches that are more than worthy of the legendary status that the Greek Islands’ hold.

For many years, Bulgaria was one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. Admittedly, this isn’t the case any more. But while the number of people who visit Bulgaria in the summer months has gone up, the prices have stayed down. It remains as one of the best bargain destinations in all of Europe and was recently named the cheapest European resort!

Take me to Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast

Burgas Airport (BOJ) and Varna Airport (VAR) are the two main airports serving the Black Sea Coast. Airlines that fly to Burgas Airport include Aeroflot, Brussels Airlines, FinnairLuxairNorwegian, Ryanair, S7 AirlinesSmartwingsSunExpress DeutschlandThomas CookTUI AirwaysTUI Fly NetherlandsUral AirlinesVoyage AirWindrose Airlines and Wizz Air.

Airlines that fly to Varna Airport include Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Bulgaria AirCondoreasyJetEdelweiss AirEurowingsLOT PolishNorwegianPobeda AirlinesRed Wings Airlines and Turkish Airlines.

Lisbon instead of Barcelona

Barcelona is one of the more popular cities in Europe and for good reason. While it’s not ultra-expensive, it isn’t exactly cheap either. Wouldn’t it be great if there was another large port city with good weather, great food, beaches and a buzzing nightlife scene, but was much cheaper?

Enter Lisbon.

Lisbon has a great blend of nightlife and culture. Go from bar to bar in Bairro Alto, the cities party district, or take a stroll through the charming streets of Lisbon’s old town, Alfama. Lisbon has some of the best weather in Europe, consistently placing in the top 10 cities with the most hour of sunshine year-round. And, if you’re about the beaches, Lisbon has some seriously underrated beaches just outside of the city centre.

Take me to Lisbon

Lisbon Airport is the main airport in Lisbon. Airlines that fly to Lisbon Airport (LIS) include Aegean AirlinesAer LingusairBalticAzulCroatia Airlines, easyJet, EmiratesLaudamotionLevel, Norwegian, Ryanair, TAP Air PortugalTaag Angola AirlinesTransaviaTransavia France, Tunisair, United and Vueling.

A street in Lisbon with tram

 Tram 28, Lisbon

San Andrés, Colombia instead of Barbados (or any Caribbean Island)

With perfect weather, golden sand shores and crystal clear waters, The Caribbean islands have built themselves up a reputation for having the most idyllic beaches in the world.

However, if you’re on a budget, the Colombian-Caribbean island of San Andrés, makes a fantastic alternative. While San Andrés might not be as cheap as Bogota and other major Colombian cities, it’s still considerably cheaper than The Caribbean. And although San Andres might not have the atmosphere that its lively Colombian rival beach-city Cartagena has, if you’re purely looking to relax on a gorgeous beach with a cocktail in hand, it’s really second to none.

Take me to San Andrés

Gustavo Rojas Pinilla International Airport (ADZ) is the main airport in San Andrés. The best way to reach San Andrés airport is to fly into Bogota and then get a connecting flight with AviancaLATAM ColombiaViva Air Colombia or Wingo. However, San Andrés is also served regionally by Air PanamaAir Transat and Satena.

A tropical sandy beach in Colombia with palm trees

 San Andrés beach

Bahrain instead of Dubai

A man-made metropolis that exudes glitz and glamour. Dubai is impressive, no doubt.

However, Bahrain has a lot of the things that Dubai is famous for — skyscrapers, shopping malls, amusement parks and restaurants. Plus, it’s a fair bit cheaper. Bahrain Is on a smaller scale than Dubai, in terms of both size and grandeur. But that gives the country a much-welcomed contrast with a more relaxed way of life.

Above all else, what makes Bahrain more interesting than Dubai to most is culture and history. Dubai’s history only dates back a couple of hundred years, whereas Bahrain history dates back to over a thousand years ago – something that is incredibly evident when visiting both destinations.

Take me to Bahrain

The main airport in Bahrain is Bahrain International Airport (BAH). Airports that fly to Bahrain International include Air ArabiaAir IndiaAir India Express, British Airways, Cathay PacificEgyptAir, Emirates, EtihadEthiopian AirlinesGulf AirIraqi AirwaysJazeera AirwaysOman AirPegasus Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines.

Bahrain skyline lit at night

 Bahrain at night

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