After sitting at home in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and dipping our toes back into travel in 2021, maybe it’s time to think about making a bigger travel splash in 2022. And a great, international one at that.
Travel experts shared with us their ideas of some of the best-priced places in the world in terms of hotels and food, and GOBankingRates put together a list of 10 international destinations that could provide adventure, ambiance and affordability in the new year.
The destinations range from Mexico to Asia to the Caribbean and beyond, and whether you want beach and relaxation or the outdoors and nightlife, there’s something for everyone on this list. Of course, before and after booking, you’ll want to stay up to date on COVID-19 protocols and requirements. Read on to learn more about your potential 2022 vacation.
When it’s winter everywhere else in January, the average high in Cancun is 81 degrees. And it has the endorsement of Jeremy Scott Foster, the CEO and founder of TravelFreak, a professional travel and adventure guide.
“Cancun has everything to offer its visitors; it’s practically a multi-generational destination from luxury resorts, sandy beaches and fantastic nightlife,” he said. “Luckily, it’s also incredibly affordable. Where prices are highest during the first week of each month, rates then reduce to approximately $50 [per night] for two people in a three-star resort and $80 in a four-star resort.”
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Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
If you prefer something less touristy in Mexico than Cancun, head to a different part of the Yucatan Peninsula. You’ll enjoy similar weather, as well as plenty of spots for swimming and snorkeling, and experience the local food scene at an affordable price.
“Cities just slightly off the path of the tourist mecca of Cancun, including Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Merida, offer an incredible variety of activities, exquisite food, and inexpensive lodging,” said Wes Jacobs, the founder of Apollo Medical Travel. “Young travelers in groups can consider staying in open bunk hostels for $8 USD a night. Airbnb accommodations in a private room or boutique hotel start at around $25 USD per night.”
To Kevin Mercier, a travel blogger, India is the place to visit in 2022.
“I believe India is one of the countries more travelers need to start researching in 2022,” he said. “Travelers can find everything from the beautiful mountains, beaches, wildlife tours, to culinary delights and delicious local drinks here. India is also one of the best yet cheapest locations for a romantic vacation.”
How affordable? Right now, very affordable given the favorable exchange rate from rupees to dollars.
“Unless you’re looking to stay at a five-star hotel or resort, you’ll find it hard to spend $50 a day here. You can get by on around $30 in most Indian cities by staying at cheap guest houses instead of hotels. The average price for a single person for accommodation in India is around 1,120 rupees ($15).”
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If you’ve always dreamed of a safari, 2022 might be the year.
“I’d suggest travelers to consider East Africa. You can expect to pay as low as $15 a night for hotel stays and you get so much bang for your buck,” said Will Hatton, the founder of travel blog The Broke Backpacker. “You’d struggle to book a place in a 30-bed dorm in Australia for that kind of money, so take your hard-earned money and spend it where it spreads so much.
“Kenya is a very diverse country with many options to choose from. You’ll find that most places will offer a safari and the beach and be of a reasonable price.”
Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city in terms of population, has emerged as a destination both for those looking to travel on a budget and for those who have a bit more to spend on vacation, said Sean Lau, a travel expert and travel blogger at LivingOutLau.
“One of the best worldwide travel destinations in 2022 is Istanbul,” he said. “As the value of the Turkish lira continues to drop, Istanbul becomes one of the best value-for-money travel destinations. Learn about the captivating history of one of the most influential cities in the world, indulge in delightful Turkish cuisine and discover the gorgeous Turkish handicrafts.”
Lau said a luxury hotel won’t cost more than $100 a night, with budget hotels available in the $20 range.
Lombok is an island in Indonesia for the adventurous. Trek to a waterfall in the midst of a jungle, go snorkeling or diving, or climb Mount Rinjani, an active volcano. When you’re done with your adventures, stop at Air Kalak Hot Springs to enjoy its medicinal properties.
“For those looking for somewhere cheap, well, Lombok offers a broad choice of just about anything,” said James Cutajar, who runs The Travel Deck, a website focusing on Southeast Asia. “Hotels start at around $30 a night and food is just as affordable. For instance, fresh grilled fish including sides won’t set you back more than $10.”
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
“One destination we’re seeing a lot of bookings for 2022 already that is very affordable is Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic,” said Val Streif, the marketing manager at GetMyBoat, a boat rental app similar to Airbnb. “The Dominican Republic is often regarded as one of the most affordable destinations in the Caribbean, offering budget-friendly travel in a region where many islands only offer expensive luxury resorts and pricey hotels.”
The beach destination also “offers a lot of authentic culture and unique experiences, while also providing all the touristy comforts you want on a vacation,” Streif said.
Phuket reopened to visitors who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in July, with some hotel rooms as low as $1 per night to attract tourists. While the prices might not be that low in 2022, it’s still poised to be a bargain, said Luke Charny, the founder of A Chef’s Tour, which organizes culinary tours in Asia and Latin America.
Charny picks Phuket as the place to be in 2022 because of quiet beaches, excellent infrastructure for tourists and “some seriously good discounts.” He said travelers should be able to get rooms overlooking the beach for $20 a night.
Henrik Jeppesen, a travel blogger and the founder of Every Country in the World, liked Tallinn so much that he moved there.
“Tallinn has a fantastic old town with well-preserved buildings and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site,” he said. “The best value is one of the monthlong stays at the beautiful contemporary Citybox Hotel starting at just 350 euros (about $405 USD) per month. “If you are looking for a shorter visit, Hestia Hotel Kentmanni is a fantastic hotel in a great quiet location with great offers including breakfast and spa access. Tallinn is a great place to live and a fantastic place to visit. … Oh by the way, the number one ranked restaurant on TripAdvisor has lunch offers for just 5 euros (about $6) Monday through Friday.”
The Serbian capital city has a mix of historic sites, river views and nightlife. Torben Lonne, the co-founder and chief editor of review guide DiveIn.com, recommends it for its “vibrant atmosphere, friendly people, and cheap food and drinks.”
“You can find very good deals for accommodation and rent entire apartments for $20 or $30 per night,” he said. “Since Belgrade is very well connected with public transport, you don’t have to be located downtown in order to get to all of the attractions easily. Being further away from the city center reduces the prices significantly and allows you to see other parts of the city. When it comes to food and drinks, most of the traditional restaurants are very cheap. … More importantly, the food is delicious and chefs mainly use quality, organic ingredients that you can also find at one of the farmers markets every day.”
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