July 25, 2024

Adventure Destinations League

Navigating Travel Wonders

Here Are 6 Hidden Hot Spots That Offer a Good Time for a Great Price

jacoblund / iStock.com

jacoblund / iStock.com

Like almost everything else, the cost of travel continues to rise. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still find some great travel opportunities at an affordable price. There are many hidden hot spots across the world to check out if you’re looking for an incredible experience.

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GOBankingRates spoke with two travel agents, Mercedes Zach from ASAP Tickets (part of Trevolution Group) and Charles Neville of JayWay Travel, to find out which hidden hot spots offer a good time for a great price. Here’s what they said.

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Sumba, Indonesia

“For years, Bali has been among the most popular holiday spots; however, since it is not as peaceful and untouched as it once used to be, many travelers are now looking for new, undiscovered and less crowded tropical destinations,” said Zach.

One such place is Sumba.

“Known for its rugged coastline, exotic beaches, breathtaking natural landscapes, unique traditions and rich history, Sumba is another spectacular island in Indonesia that has recently started to attract tourists who are after an exotic escape. Sumba is located south of Bali, and it’s twice the size of it,” said Zach.

According to Zach, the western part of the island is one area where savvy travelers often go.

“Most travelers choose to explore its beautiful Weekuri Lake, the gorgeous coastline and the abundance of traditional villages,” she said. “Sumba is an emerging destination I see trending in 2024 among those travelers who want to experience an extraordinary adventure in the wilderness while surrounded by breathtaking views, all the modern-day amenities and both fun and relaxing experiences for less.”

You can find accommodations in Sumba for anywhere from about $16 to $200 a night. The daily cost of food is about $16 a day or less, while entertainment will run you around $10 a day, according to Budget Your Trip. Excluding airfare, which varies widely based on where you start out, you could experience the area on a budget.

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Cartagena, Colombia

According to Neville, Cartagena is another hidden hot spot where you can have a lovely adventure without going overboard with your budget.

Located on the Caribbean coast, this historic walled city provides convenient access to white-sand beaches, coral reefs, the Rosario Islands, mud volcanoes and much more. It also has a lot to offer when it comes to history and culture.

As for accommodations, you can keep costs low, or you can splurge a little if your budget allows. One such option is the Coralina Island House, located in the Rosario Islands just off the coast.

“This secluded retreat offers pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters and a laid-back atmosphere perfect for relaxation,” said Neville. “Accommodation options range from cozy beachfront cottages to luxurious villas, with prices starting at $300-$500 per person for a three-night stay, including meals and transfers from Cartagena.”

Destin, Florida

You don’t have to go overseas to have a good time. If you’re starting out in the U.S. and want to keep costs even lower, you might want to add Destin, Florida to your list of travel destinations.

“If you are looking to enjoy a next-level travel experience domestically, one such U.S. city that could easily compare to Malibu or Miami while being a lot cheaper is Destin in northwest Florida, in the Panhandle area. It’s known for its Emerald Coast beaches, many golf courses, the Destin Harbor Boardwalk and nice weather all year round,” said Zach.

“Many say that Destin gives out Caribbean vibes without having to take a flight to any of the exotic islands outside the U.S. Plus, there are plenty of exclusive beach rentals to choose from for as little as $100 per night,” she added. “This city offers everything from golfing, rock climbing and ziplines to snorkeling and dolphin tours to world-class festivals, firework displays and other unique experiences that don’t have to cost a fortune.”

Porto, Portugal

If Europe’s more your vibe, consider Porto, a historic city with vibrant culture and delicious cuisine. It’s becoming more popular, but there’s still a lot to explore that other travelers haven’t yet. Plus, it’s affordable.

“Wander through narrow cobblestone streets, admire stunning views of the Douro River and indulge in wine tastings at local cellars,” said Neville. “Accommodation options in Porto include boutique hotels, guesthouses and hostels, with nightly rates starting at €50-€100 per person during the summer months.”

Bona Aqua, Tennessee

Another option for those who’d prefer a U.S. destination is Bon Aqua, Tennessee. Neville specifically suggested the Piney River Resort for those who want a more serene getaway.

“This hidden gem offers rustic cabins, RV sites and tent camping options, providing a perfect escape for nature lovers,” he said. “Guests can enjoy fishing, kayaking, hiking and stargazing under the clear night sky.”

Expect to spend around $30 a night at the camping sites or about $100 a night on cabin rentals.

Muscat, Oman

“Another emerging holiday destination for those who seek one-of-a-kind adventures is Oman — the perfect place to experience old Arabia that offers beautiful beaches, vibrant culture and diverse landscapes,” said Zach. “Located on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman’s natural wonders include dramatic mountains, long golden shores with palm trees and groves of citrus trees.”

Oman also offers year-round sunshine, a mix of luxury and affordable accommodations and restaurants stretching along the Gulf coastline. Hotels in the area start at around $25 a night and go up from there. Dining out goes a bit higher at around $80 per person each day, though you can always find ways to keep costs down once you’re there.

Aside from affordability, there’s also plenty to do.

“Some of the most well-known tourist attractions include the Al Alam Palace by the sea, Muscat Old Town and Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, but there’s plenty more to experience when in Oman, from dolphin spotting, snorkeling and camel rides to something as extraordinary as walking along the highest peak in the Middle East, enjoying a dinner on the stargazing platform or seeing the wonders of the galaxy with night sky telescope tours over the canyon,” said Zach.

“It is one of the few countries still relatively untouched by mass tourism, and the prices there go for around $250 a day, making it a spectacular yet still affordable off-the-radar travel destination,” she added.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: I’m a Travel Agent: Here Are 6 Hidden Hot Spots That Offer a Good Time for a Great Price