International tourism is on the rise. According to the World Tourism Organization UNWTO, international travel was up 6 percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared to 2016 — that’s 21 million more people vacationing on foreign soil. That doesn’t mean a trip to Europe or Asia is necessarily in your budget, however.
While popular destinations like Paris and London can have travel costs that are prohibitively high, some international cities are far friendlier to the wallet. GOBankingRates consulted Booking.com’s list of up-and-coming destinations — based on year-over-year changes in bookings — to find some less-expensive travel spots around the globe. If you’re set on taking the family overseas, you might want to consider one of these affordable vacation destinations.
This article was originally published on December 12th, 2019 and statements were fact-checked at time of original publication.
See some of the most amazing architecture in the world firsthand in Shanghai, one of the three cities that experienced the most year-over-year growth in bookings, according to Booking. Perhaps consider visiting in the winter — the prices in December and January are lower than those in June, the site found.
Just remember: When traveling here — or anywhere abroad, for that matter — take time to uncover popular tourist scams to protect your money while abroad.
Dublin is an increasingly popular destination for tourists. And looking at January, June and December data, Booking found that June is the most expensive month to travel to this Irish city. On the flip side, traveling during January and December is 32 percent and 23 percent cheaper, respectively.
One of the best parts of visiting Dublin is that you can cover a lot of ground in little time. According to The Savvy Backpacker, you can see the best sites in two to three days. One site you have to see: the city’s sleek and modern Samuel Beckett Bridge.
For more ideas, check out the Cheapest Times of the Year to Fly to Europe.
Another up-and-coming destination, Edinburgh costs about $148 a day to visit, according to Budget Your Trip. This calculation includes accommodations, food, entertainment and other costs. And Booking’s data shows hotels are 14 percent cheaper in January.
There are many great sites to check out in Edinburgh before the destination gets too expensive, such as the Edinburgh Castle — one of the most iconic landmarks in the city.
Kyoto is also rising in popularity. If you’ve always wanted to visit, perhaps consider a summer trip to this Asian city. June is 16 percent cheaper than December, according to Booking. While you’re there, stop by the Toji temple, which houses carvings, statues, paintings and more. To get the best deals to this destination, book your trip at the right time.
Like Edinburgh, Lisbon is seeing some of the greatest year-over-year growth in bookings, so prices might be rising soon. When you’re there, be sure to check out the medieval-style alleys in the charming Alfama district.
Visit Seville before it gets too expensive. The city offers beautiful sites, such as the romantic Plaza de Espana, which features a semicircular water canal.
Singapore is just one of many Asian destinations experiencing strong tourism growth year-over-year, according to Booking. However, rising demand could push travel costs higher — and Singapore is already pretty expensive.
According to Expatistan’s Cost of Living Index, Singapore has the third-highest cost of living in Asia, behind only Hong Kong and Tokyo. And according to Budget Your Trip, the daily average budget is about $111. So, plan accordingly to visit everything Singapore has to offer, including the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands.
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Considering how cold Sweden can get, it’s not surprising that visiting Stockholm in January is 26 percent less expensive than visiting in June. But this up-and-coming destination has an average daily budget of $167, so you might want to save a little extra money before you book a vacation here.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s capital and home to the iconic Petronas Towers. This twin structure offers both educational tours and awe-inspiring views of the city.
Copenhagen has increasingly become a popular travel destination. But if you have trouble with the cold, you might miss out on the cheapest time to visit. Currently, it’s 40 percent cheaper to see Copenhagen in January than June.
If you do decide to splurge on a summer trip to the city, be sure to visit beautiful Nyhavn. Have dinner at one of the colorful houses that have been converted to fancy restaurants and listen to jazz music as you gaze at the canal.
Thailand is known for being one of the most affordable places to visit in the world. So, although Bangkok is an up-and-coming destination, it remains cheap compared to other global hot spots.
Still, you should take advantage of its affordability while you can, and experience some of the city’s must-see attractions — including the famous Wat Phra Kaew (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha).
Milan offers visitors unforgettable sites, ranging from the Milan Cathedral to the high-fashion district of Quadrilatero d’Oro. It’s more expensive to visit this city in June than January, according to Booking.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Booking.com found that Ho Chi Minh City experienced the highest year-over-year growth in bookings. A beautiful, exotic locale, this Vietnamese city boasts the Buu Long Pagoda, a breathtaking and calming temple. For more beautiful trip ideas, discover some of the breathtaking sights around the world you can see for free.
Bookings in Athens have been on the rise, and even exceeded demand for trips to Paris, according to Booking’s data. With demand going up, you might want to avoid scheduling a trip for June and aim for January instead — the cost is 31 percent cheaper.
Demand for travel to Taipei is on the rise — it’s the No. 4 up-and-coming destination on Booking’s list. With demand going up, prices potentially will as well. To avoid paying more for travel, opt to visit in June, when prices are 15 percent cheaper than in January.
When you arrive in Taipei, visit the Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest buildings. In the tower, you can shop, dine and check out the observatory.
Home to the largest port in Germany, Hamburg has seen year-over-year bookings increase more than those for London or Venice, according to Booking. While there, visit the St. Michaelis Church, the famous fish market or see the Elbe River.
This Austrian city has experienced more year-over-year growth than Madrid or Florence, according to Booking. If you’re trying to save on travel, avoid booking a trip for December and perhaps aim for January. Booking’s data shows January is 14 percent less expensive than December. When you’re there, make time to see St. Stephen’s Cathedral, one of Vienna’s most symbolic sites.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai is another city in Thailand benefiting from strong year-over-year increases in bookings. The growth in Chiang Mai’s popularity has caused some parts of the city to become saturated with tourists, according to Budget Your Travel. Still, it’s worth visiting to explore the ancient temples, check out the elephants and shop the Sunday markets.
Manama offers a more affordable alternative to popular — but expensive — Asian destinations. And, it’s experiencing more year-over-year growth in bookings than Dubai, according to Booking. The city hosts some extravagant architecture, too.
This city is known for its rich culture and colorful architecture, like the stunning Park Guell. And Barcelona is becoming a popular tourist destination, with significant differences in price depending on when you decide to go. For instance, traveling in January is more than 30 percent cheaper than June.
Tourism has been growing over the last couple years in the Amsterdam metropolitan area, according to a 2016 report by Research, Information and Statistics. The city offers plenty of fun activities. But simply exploring Amsterdam’s traditional buildings and famed canals will satisfy any explorer.
Another up-and-coming travel destination, Warsaw is an old, traditional cultural center of Eastern Europe, and the Old Town is a great historical site. But know that a summer trip might be more expensive — January and December are 28 percent and 15 percent less expensive, respectively.
Prague is one of the top 25 up-and-coming destinations based on Booking.com’s data. So, if you want to drink the city’s famed beer or see the picturesque river, consider booking a trip before demand drives up prices.
This city is getting hotter as a tourist destination. June is an expensive month in terms of travel costs, but January and December prices are 10 percent cheaper. When you visit Budapest, take in the full beauty of the Danube River. You can even go on one of Budapest’s river cruises.
Moscow might be a long plane ride away, but it offers incomparable sites and a fascinating cultural heritage. Moscow ranks on the lower end of Booking’s list, but it’s still considered an up-and-coming destination.
Take advantage of the affordable prices while you can. According to Budget Your Trip, the average daily travel cost in Moscow is $60, which includes expenses such as food, entertainment and accommodations. Compared to other European destinations, Moscow isn’t too bad on your budget.
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Methodology: GOBankingRates.com used travel data supplied by Booking.com, which compiled 50 international tourist destinations experiencing the largest year-over-year increases in bookings. Booking.com looked at the year-over-year change in bookings, based on a minimum standard number of bookings, in order to be statistically significant. GOBankingRates selected 25 cities out of the 50 to spotlight in this article.