These 10 Places Are Still Budget-Friendly

Traveling during late November and December from the United States and Canada can put a strain on your wallet. This is the high season for holiday travel when many Americans and Canadians are traveling domestically to visit family or taking family trips abroad to celebrate the holidays overseas. The increase in demand naturally results in more expensive flights and accommodation options in many places around the world. However, these 10 destinations remain relatively affordable throughout the holidays and can be the perfect escape for a last-minute holiday getaway.

10 Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Costa Rica is easily accessible from many major travel hubs in Canada and the United States, including Toronto, New York City, Houston, and Los Angeles. This coastal town in Costa Rica is the perfect holiday escape during December, enabling families, couples, or solo travelers to enjoy the sunshine, surf, and delicious restaurants in one place. One of the most expensive parts of visiting Costa Rica is car rental, so basing yourself in one city and staying there for the duration of the trip means cutting costs significantly.

9 Riviera Maya, Mexico

Riviera Maya, Mexico, is full of lavish all-inclusive resorts for travelers to enjoy at reasonable prices. The good news is that while prices may increase or availability can be limited during the holidays, spending 5-7 days in this part of Mexico is still budget-friendly during this busy season. From Riviera Maya, travelers can easily take day trips to Mayan ruin attractions like Chichen Itza or the iconic Isla Mujeres.

8 Salt Lake City, Utah

To keep costs down while traveling during the holidays, consider staying within the United States, which is affordable for Canadians and Americans. Flights from Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and New York City to Salt Lake City remain reasonable during this time. It’s not as in demand as other major cities around the country, but it still boasts plenty of activities to enjoy during December. Catch a ballet performance at the Capitol Theatre and admire the Christmas lights displayed around the city.

7 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is an affordable travel destination year-round, so even during the holiday season, it’s a great option for families, couples, or solo travelers to escape the cold. Soak in some sunshine, go snorkeling, horseback riding, or swim at one of the many resorts around Punta Cana.

6 Montego Bay, Jamaica

Jamaica is another Caribbean gem that remains affordable during November and December. In particular, Montego Bay is a great destination for travelers seeking all-inclusive resorts at reasonable prices. The weather is unbeatable, with average temperatures during December ranging from a comfortable low of 22ºC to a balmy high of 30ºC.

Related: Everything You Need To Know To Plan A Vacation To Beautiful Montego Bay

5 Banff, Canada

Canada can be an expensive country to travel in, but avoiding the major cities of Toronto and Vancouver can help visitors maintain a realistic budget. During December, a beautiful escape to the Rocky Mountains in Banff National Park is a fantastic option that offers incredible hiking, sightseeing, and hot spring bathing opportunities. Book accommodation well in advance to beat the seasonal rush and avoid price hikes due to last-minute limited availability.

4 Mexico City, Mexico

Travelers who want to experience an authentic side of Mexico without staying in a resort during the holiday season will love exploring Mexico City. The capital of the country, Mexico City, is a common stopover destination for many airlines shuttling passengers to other cities in Mexico and Central America. For travelers with a layover, consider extending it to make the most of the time there, or simply plan an entire trip around this affordable and lively Mexican destination. There are many neighborhoods to choose from, but one of the most cost-effective yet trendy places to book an Airbnb in Mexico City is La Condesa or nearby La Roma.

Related: Visit Banff On A Budget (With Points & Rewards You Already Have)

3 Havana, Cuba

Havana is a vibrant city in Cuba that deserves more international attention. While many travelers choose to stay in resorts in Varadero or Cayo Coco when visiting Cuba, they might find these packages are more expensive during the holidays. To beat the tourism rush, travelers can instead book a flight to the capital, Havana, and stay at a budget-friendly Airbnb. Explore the city with a local guide, take a food tour, and see a side of Cuba that people staying at resorts don’t get to experience.

2 Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico remains a budget travel destination for people departing from Canada and the United States evening during the holidays. Flights are easy to find for less than $350 round trip from travel hubs like New York City or Toronto. A trip to San Juan means lively bar scenes, gorgeous beaches, casinos, nightclubs, and more.

1 Las Vegas, Nevada

It’s always a good time to visit Las Vegas, and the holiday season is no exception. Traveling to Las Vegas, Nevada, between Thanksgiving and Christmas might mean slightly higher airfare and larger crowds, but the highlights of this destination remain the same. Accommodation in Las Vegas is relatively affordable since the cost of living there is less than other cities in Nevada, such as Henderson or Boulder City.

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