magazine | Travel | Destination Guides

The Most Dreamy and Affordable Summer 2018 Travel Ideas

photo: Grant Legan
Finding a destination that is both wallet-friendly and wanderlust-friendly isn’t always an easy task. Especially with summer coming in hot, a moment when it feels like everyone seems to be plotting that perfect off-the-grid getaway. But don’t put away your passport quite yet, there are plenty of destinations that offer affordable low-key travel that don’t compromise on thrills, culture and epic memories, whether that’s a fresh take on Toronto or exploring Budapest by foot. What’s more, to really maximize value, use Skyscanner to stay flexible with airline fares (I.E., allow wiggle room on departure and arrival dates), opt for late summer bookings (think mid-August through September) and set tracking fares to snag the best deals. Here, we’ve rounded up nine dreamy and affordable summer travel ideas.

Reporter: ​Dylan Essertier
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Ischia

Italy
Thinking about Italy this summer? Skip the often costly Amalfi Coast and head to Ischia off of Naples instead. Apart from being an easy and cheap trip from Rome (take the train from Rome to Naples for just €29), Ischia offers bright-blue waters, lush hillsides, pristine beaches and castles that date back to the Bronze Age. As if that wasn’t enough, the island also contains special mud said to have medicinal healing properties, which means a visit to Ischia’s thermal spas are actually good for not only your heart—but your health.
Photo: sup.alienati
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Kobarid

Slovenia
If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten path destination that packs a ton of scenery, consider paying a visit to Slovenia’s beautiful green peaks. From hiking and biking to relaxing in natural thermal springs located around Pannonian Plain, you’ll be astounded by a visit to this off-the-beaten-path affordable European gem.
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Budapest

Hungary
During the summer months Budapest is perfect for exploring by foot. After taking in the city’s impressive (and free) museums and iconic sights, such as St. Stephen’s Basilica and Fisherman’s Bastion (all totally free to visit as well), fill up on the local speciality Langos, a fried bread topped with sour cream and cheese that’s as budget-friendly as it is mouthwatering. Also worth a visit? Budapest’s famous thermal baths. For something especially grande and memorable check out the Széchenyi Baths.
Photo: Jeannie Tobin
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Denver

Colorado
With over 20,000 acres of mountain greenscape, Denver’s park system is expansive, breathtaking and free! Grab a blanket, some snacks and a bottle of wine and you’ll have all the makings of a memorable—and budget-friendly—summer picnic. In addition to the greenery, the art-inclined traveler should be sure to browse Denver’s burgeoning art scene in the RiNo and the Santa Fe Arts Districts. Stay at: Hotel Teatro 
Photo: Luis Vivanco
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Juneau

Alaska
Skip that expensive cruise you read about and rent a car to explore the 49th state’s incredible national parks. The best part about Juneau is it’s an ideal spot from which to take day trips, all of which will blow you away with their rustic nature, whether that might be cycling through Mount Roberts or Auke Bay, Eagle Beach or the Shrine of St Therese. 
Photo: Vojta Rousar
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Tbilisi

Georgia
If you’re willing to invest in flights (the average price is around $500) you’ll find yourself in a city overflowing with an incredible mix of old meets new filled with sights easily explorable by foot. While there, be sure to check out The Dezerter Bazar, a massive outdoor market filled with vendors selling everything from eggs to local liquor (known as chacha).
Photo: Cassie Drake
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Granada

Nicaragua
If you’re hankering for a trip to Tulum minus the tourists, Granada is a great alternative as it has tons of Spanish colonial architecture, slews of artisanal markets to wander through, blue lagoons, and even a volcano (Masaya Volcano is Nicaragua’s first and largest National Park and only a day trip from Granada). To snack like a local, head to Cafetin el Volcan, which is known to be the best place in Granada to enjoy your quesillos (grilled corn tortillas stuffed with cheese and topped with pickled onions and cream), which are some of the tastiest and most delicious around.
Photo: Andreia Costa
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Lisbon

Portugal
Considered one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe, Portugal offers good value, excellent accommodations, and delicious—affordable—dining options. To really maximize your dollar, skip Algarve (the most popular and expensive area of the country) and head to charming and traditional Tavira instead. It’s here you’ll find a historic city filled with beaches and al fresco dining perfect for those seeking a relaxed summer escape. Check out these 11 serene escapes in Portugal →
Photo: Scott Webb
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Toronto

Canada
Choose to skip the glitz and skyscrapers and head to the city’s lesser-known Koreatown district to experience an incredible variety of eats (did you know that Toronto is home to over 200 ethnic groups?). It’s an ideal city to hop on the subway, browse multicultural shops and sip cocktails in reasonably-priced corner restaurants. The best part? The average domestic beer clocks in at $5.00 as opposed other cosmopolitan cities like New York where the national average is $7.00 and over. Cheers, Toronto!

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