January and February are infamous for bringing out the winter “blahs” in most people. Many people wish for a holiday to a warmer climate, but feel that they can’t afford it. Despair not oh fellow bargain hunters! The following 5 destinations will bring you swiftly to warmer climes without breaking your pocketbook.
Cartagena, Colombia – This gem in the Spanish Caribbean is often overlooked by holiday travelers, because of the reputation that Colombia has had in the past. But due to stricter security controls, Cartagena is now becoming a widely admired tourist destination. Set right on the Caribbean ocean and close to the equator, this hidden treasure offers hot weather and beautiful beaches at any time of the year. A major draw to tourists is the Castillo de San Felipe and Centro, a castle and small, walled city that were built in the 1500‘s. The buildings are still used today for residential and business purposes. In January, the airfare prices drop dramatically and one can usually find a round-trip flight for around 850 pounds if one flies through Miami, Florida and uses local flights such as Avianca or Lan. Decent hotels can start at around 28 pounds in Bocagrande, which is right on the best strip of beaches in Cartagena.
Oahu, Hawaii – Our next destination is one my personal favorites. Oahu, the main island of Hawaii, is one of the biggest tourist draws in the US, yet one can find bargains on Oahu if one knows where to look. When visiting the island, don’t spend your entire trip in Waikiki. To find the real heart of Aloha, a drive in a rented car to the windward side of the Pali will bring some of the most breathtaking views on Oahu. Get your camera ready! There are places where the steep, emerald mountains meet the golden sands and cerulean waters of the ocean. Other musts on Oahu are a hike to Makapu’u point, snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, or a day trip to the Polynesian Cultural Center where the night performance will surprise and delight you! As someone once said “A visit to Hawaii will take your heart and never let it go.” You are likely to find better prices if you use a travel agency that specializes in Hawaiian Packages such as Pleasant Holidays or Go Hawaii. You can find airfare for as low as 660 pounds from London. ALOHA!
Las Vegas – Our next destination is the busy and fascinating Las Vegas strip! “America’s Playground” welcomes you (and your money) with open arms! You can see Paris, Italy, the Old West and Asia all within a few blocks of each other. Everything in Las Vegas caters to the budget tourist from hotels to shows to the food, so that the casinos can draw you in to spend that extra cash. Package deals from agencies that specialize in trips to Las Vegas are probably your best bet as they throw in “extras” for free. If booking in January or February, try to avoid booking your trip around President’s Day or Valentine’s Day as these are considered “high season” in Las Vegas.
Puerto Rico – Our next place for a budget destination is Puerto Rico. Only 3 hours east of Florida, the “Island of Enchantment” is one of the most visited destinations in the Caribbean. This island boasts a rich, cultural history, white-sand beaches, mountains and jungles. You will also find a glittering nightlife in casinos and upscale nightclubs. Similar to Cartagena, you will find vacation prices drop in January after the holidays. Momondo.co.uk has airfare prices as low as 531 GBP for travel in January.
New Zealand – Kia Ora! Or welcome to New Zealand! Because of the recent release of “The Hobbit”, vacation specials are drawing Hobbit fans from around the world to the shores of New Zealand. During January and February, it is summer-time in New Zealand. So you can scale the cliffs of “Middle Earth” outside of Queensland, or enjoy spectacular views while golfing on Cape Kidnapper, considered one of the best golf courses in the world! Rainforests, beaches, wine vineyards and more await you in this magical country. Cheapflights.co.uk has roundtrip tickets to Auckland starting at 750 pounds in January. Sites like Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet will also give you a good insight to accommodations within your budget. So fellow bargain hunters, pack your sunglasses! A tropical escape may be closer to your realm of possibilities that you had dreamed. See you on the beach!