10 Budget Summer Travel Destinations

by Christina Garofalo

10 Budget Summer Travel Destinations

by Christina Garofalo

As we kick-off summer in the Northern Hemisphere, these destinations are celebrating their off-seasons with an abundance of activities. Expect rock-bottom pricing on hotels, airfare, and attractions—plus, you can pack light.

As we kick-off summer in the Northern Hemisphere, these destinations are celebrating their off-seasons with an abundance of activities. Expect rock-bottom pricing on hotels, airfare, and attractions—plus, you can pack light.

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Vail, CO

As the temperatures rise, this luxe ski destination becomes an affordable escape for active travelers. Come summer, hotel rates drop; elite ski slopes become free hiking paths; and the melting snow feeds some of the best rapids in the U.S. for kayaking, white-water rafting, and tubing. The charming Vail Village buzzes with restaurants, bars, boutiques, and free outdoor art galleries.

As the temperatures rise, this luxe ski destination becomes an affordable escape for active travelers. Come summer, hotel rates drop; elite ski slopes become free hiking paths; and the melting snow feeds some of the best rapids in the U.S. for kayaking, white-water rafting, and tubing. The charming Vail Village buzzes with restaurants, bars, boutiques, and free outdoor art galleries.

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Miami, FL

If you can stand the heat, you’ll be rewarded with uncrowded beaches and tourist attractions, plus hundreds of dollars in savings on hotels and airfare. While traffic dissipates, the city’s art scene remains vibrant, with a full schedule of exhibits, concerts, and cultural events. And at the Miami Spice event, held every August and September, the city’s best restaurants offer discounted menus.

If you can stand the heat, you’ll be rewarded with uncrowded beaches and tourist attractions, plus hundreds of dollars in savings on hotels and airfare. While traffic dissipates, the city’s art scene remains vibrant, with a full schedule of exhibits, concerts, and cultural events. And at the Miami Spice event, held every August and September, the city’s best restaurants offer discounted menus.

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Scottsdale, AZ

In summer, Scottsdale’s top resorts—many of which boast luxurious pools—and prestigious golf courses cut rates by 50% (but, take serious precautions when playing golf in the desert heat). Restaurants with outdoor seating are equipped with misters; concert venues continue to host big-name acts; and there are more than 60 public swimming pools in Greater Phoenix, where you can cool off for free.

In summer, Scottsdale’s top resorts—many of which boast luxurious pools—and prestigious golf courses cut rates by 50% (but, take serious precautions when playing golf in the desert heat). Restaurants with outdoor seating are equipped with misters; concert venues continue to host big-name acts; and there are more than 60 public swimming pools in Greater Phoenix, where you can cool off for free.

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Australia

While Australia’s winter (June through August) is ripe with hotel and flight deals, and its top attractions remain accessible and offer fewer crowds. In tropical Queensland, it’s warm enough to surf, swim, snorkel, and explore the Great Barrier Reef with little chance of rain. Sydney is stunning year-round, but in winter, you can spot humpback whales as they migrate up the East Coast.

While Australia’s winter (June through August) is ripe with hotel and flight deals, and its top attractions remain accessible and offer fewer crowds. In tropical Queensland, it’s warm enough to surf, swim, snorkel, and explore the Great Barrier Reef with little chance of rain. Sydney is stunning year-round, but in winter, you can spot humpback whales as they migrate up the East Coast.

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The Caribbean

While summer is the start of hurricane season, the risk is lower than you might think (for example, the Western Caribbean isn’t vulnerable until October and the Southern Caribbean is rarely hit at all). Meanwhile, you can score hotels and airfare deals up to 50% off (though it’s smart to buy travel insurance). Tip: Because kids in the U.S. are on summer break, avoid family-oriented resorts when looking for deals.

While summer is the start of hurricane season, the risk is lower than you might think (for example, the Western Caribbean isn’t vulnerable until October and the Southern Caribbean is rarely hit at all). Meanwhile, you can score hotels and airfare deals up to 50% off (though it’s smart to buy travel insurance). Tip: because kids in the U.S. are on summer break, avoid family-oriented resorts when looking for deals.

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Chile

Summer in the Northern Hemisphere means winter in the Southern Hemisphere. During this time, the mountains around Santiago (such as Portillo and Valle Nevado) and snow-covered volcanoes further south in Pucón offer world-class skiing for far less than what you’d pay in the U.S. In Santiago, weather is warm enough to dine on fresh seafood al fresco and visit Chile’s esteemed wineries, all while staying in high-end hotels at rock-bottom prices.

Summer in the Northern Hemisphere means winter in the Southern Hemisphere. During this time, the mountains around Santiago (such as Portillo and Valle Nevado) and snow-covered volcanoes further south in Pucón offer world-class skiing for far less than what you’d pay in the U.S. In Santiago, weather is warm enough to dine on fresh seafood al fresco and visit Chile’s esteemed wineries, all while staying in high-end hotels at rock-bottom prices.

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India

Monsoon season may cause travel delays, but it also brings fewer crowds to popular tourist attractions (you'll also find more affordable airfare and accommodations). What's more, Himalayan destinations that are inaccessible in winter, such as Ladakh, become vibrant with some of the India’s best treks. Plus, the damp weather is considered the best time for Ayurvedic treatments in Kerala.

Monsoon season may cause travel delays, but it also brings fewer crowds to popular tourist attractions (you'll also find more affordable airfare and accommodations). What's more, Himalayan destinations that are inaccessible in winter, such as Ladakh, become vibrant with some of the India’s best treks. Plus, the damp weather is considered the best time for Ayurvedic treatments in Kerala.

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New Orleans, LA

If you're looking for a deal, consider a trip to New Orleans in August. While the city is thick with humidity, flight prices and hotel rates drop significantly (averaging $156/night -- about $100 less than in peak season). What's more, New Orleans' impressive museums, such as the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, offer discounted pricing for Museum Month. During this time, many restaurants offer multi-course prix-fixe deals.

If you're looking for a deal, consider a trip to New Orleans in August. While the city is thick with humidity, flight prices and hotel rates drop significantly (averaging $156/night — about $100 less than in peak season). What's more, New Orleans' impressive museums, such as the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, offer discounted pricing for Museum Month. During this time, many restaurants offer multi-course prix-fixe deals.

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Myrtle Beach, SC

A true budget destination, Myrtle Beach is great for deal-seekers, even in peak season. If you visit in early May and late August through September, the crowds and prices drop significantly. And, since most families stay for a long weekend, hotels offer low weekday rates. During this time, the calendar is packed festivals and events this time of year.

A true budget destination, Myrtle Beach is great for deal-seekers, even in peak season. If you visit in early May and late August through September, the crowds and prices drop significantly. And, since most families stay for a long weekend, hotels offer low weekday rates. During this time, the calendar is packed festivals and events this time of year.

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Dubai

While the scorching outdoors are off-limits, Dubai’s abundant indoor playgrounds will have AC on full blast. Shop at the largest mall in the world (a destination in itself); ride to the top of the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa; and ski down an indoor snow-covered mountain. Hotels are heavily discounted and traffic is nonexistent — but avoid traveling during Ramadan (May 5 through June 4), when you can’t drink water in public.

While the scorching outdoors are off-limits, Dubai’s abundant indoor playgrounds will have AC on full blast. Shop at the largest mall in the world (a destination in itself); ride to the top of the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa; and ski down an indoor snow-covered mountain. Hotels are heavily discounted and traffic is nonexistent — but avoid traveling during Ramadan (May 5 through June 4), when you can’t drink water in public.

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