Things to do, Travel List, Trip reviews

Great alternatives to disappointingly expensive popular destinations

Saint Tropez/Budva

Whenever you think of extravagance and opulence, Saint Tropez has got it. Partly because of the French style and classy fashion, partly because of the former model Brigitte Bardot, the French Riviera slowly became one of the hot spots of amazing holidays. The kind of place or, if you don’t want to go on your honey moon, at least you should be there for the bachelor party. Of course, along with this huge popularity come the VIPs that make it even more of a heavenly place to be: from Kathrine Zeta-Jones to Victoria Backham, Rihanna, Tom Cruise or Kate Hudson. But there’s a high chance for a normal person to never afford going to Saint Tropez without having to mortgage the house.

Saint Tropez Photo Credits:

Budva, Montenegro, is a cheaper destination and a great alternative to this one, being in many ways similar to Saint Tropez. High-end dining and a nightlife always full of possibilities, along with the architecture and its endless beaches make Budva look as if it was meant to be an exact copy, except for the cheaper prices. This coastal town on the Adriatic can be enjoyed at least as much as its more expensive alternative.

Budva Photo Credits:

Aspen/ Sun Valley

A perfect winter destination, the ideal place for a romantic holiday when you can indulge yourself a thick, sexy sweater and a fine red wine next to the fireplace, just to have plenty of energy for skiing the following day. This community in Colorado sounds like heaven on earth for any winter lover, and there’s also plenty of celebrities who have transformed it into an ideal place to get away from the Hollywood madness. Again, it’s the association with celebrities that have made it a super premium resort. Making Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson, Heidi Klumm, or Mariah Carrey happy doesn’t come with cheap expectations, so it’s pretty unlikely to afford it.

Aspen Photo Credits: CNTraveler

And even if you would, why not opt for Sun Valley? Imagine this: you will have the chance to see some celebrities here as well, except it’s more pocket-friendly. Trail riding, skiing, tennis biking, hiking, ice skating – you can have these all here. Idaho would be, therefore, a better place to host you if you’re on a budget or you simply don’t plan on spending all your money recklessly.

Sun Valley Photo Credits:

Palma del Mallorca/Crette

Yeah, I know. Jennifer Anniston on an expensive, extravagant yacht is what pops right to my mind whenever I think of Mallorca as well. The middle of the Mediterranean doesn’t have to sound great just for figures like Captain Jack Sparrow, and expensive rum is what anybody would go for. But the luxury and substantialness of its services are what make it a very expensive destination, sometimes even for the celebrities.

Mallorca Photo Credits: CNTraveller

Crete is the place where walking with huge shopping bags and admiring the historic building is what would make you fit right in, so you shouldn’t hesitate to come here. The sandy beaches and the Venetian palaces are best admired in Hania and Rethymnon, where you can even accommodate in such a restored old building, but you should feel free to explore any place else. The deep gorges make it look not just like Mallorca, but quite independently wondrous.

Crette Photo Source: CNTraveller


Right, it’s the huge, imposing buildings you’re thinking of, the classy life style and the well educated, rich people who make this place so special. Its architecture is one of a kind as well, very futuristic – sometimes minimalistic, sometimes just opulent – but the people who made it so extravagant had a reason for it – they’re unbelievably rich.

The night life – this Las Vegas impression it had on everybody makes it even more vibrant than it would normally look and we’re with you on this one.

Dubai Photo Credits:

But how about taking all this glamor and transforming it into a truly authentic experience? Oman can give you this – because of the confluence of Arabian, Indian and African cultures there are lots of things to do and as many experiences to live. The locals are a little more open to letting you sink it all in, and the prices in Omar are affordable. Especially if you’re traveling with your family or significant other, you’ll feel the difference as a bonus, not necessarily as a second, cheaper option.

Oman Photo Credits: NationalGeographic


Since the World Cup, Brazil is everywhere – everyone has an opinion on it, more or less legitimate, and even more importantly – everybody wonders how it is to be here. Well, basically, particularly these days, overpriced. We’re not saying the entire experience isn’t worth it, we’re only saying that you can always refocus on something less popular and more authentic. Along with this come the cheaper prices. If in Brazil it’s practically impossible to find a decent accommodation under $35 at least, Bolivia’s way more pockt friendly.

Brazil Photo Credits:

And the best thing about it, besides not being able to see the football games live, is that you won’t be needing to sacrifice the experiences. Plus, from Bolivia you get to visit the world’s highest lake, Titicaca, at over 12,000 feet (3,600 km). Another great benefit would be not having to sell your jewelries to see the Amazon, as from Brazil it’s significantly more expensive. But because this destination is somehow off the beaten path if we’re taking into consideration the number of tourist by comparison, the prices are much better overall.

Bolivia Photo Credits: HuffingtonPost

The Grand Canyon/ Canyonlands

It does sound a little counterintuitive that one of the most important drawbacks for the Grand Canyon of being such a popular destination is that it gets busy. But it really does – depending on the time of the year when you’re visiting, it may even beath the whole point of letting you enjoy the two most inner reasons for which you’re there: loneliness and nature. Instead, you’ll see all kinds of tourist, from the overly mannered ones who are going to talk to you ceaselessly, to the rude ones who believe that it’s their own private right only to feel good.

The Grand Canyon Photo Credits:

In Utah, Canyonlands was carved as a labyrinth of canyons, and the entire panorama is objectively spectacular, regardless of its popularity or lack thereof. The trails and accessible places are more abundant here, therefore the entire destination is made more tourist-friendly, so there’s one of the main reason why this should be on top of your mental agenda.

CanyonLands Photo Credits:


No, there won’t be any Tour Eiffel here on top of which you’ll get to see the so called most romantic panorama. It’s true. But Paris is overcrowded, besides being extremely expensive. And people are a little smug – there’s something about the city that makes it this way.

Paris Photo Credits:

So instead of being sad for not having the occasion to walk on the Champs Elysées, let me help you focus on the similitudes. Just like Paris is divided by the Seine, Budapest is divided by Danube. Plus, the advantage of relaxing on the thermal baths, some of which dating since the 16th century, does tip the balance.

Budapest Photo Credits:

Tuscany/ California Wine Country

Glancing at the vineyard-covered hills after a gourmet meal, while enjoying an expensive glass of wine is traditionally associated with Tuscany. This Italian region is highly popular for being a genuine mecca of the travelers who’ve got a taste for refinement and, of course, money to feed their cultural passion with. The thoroughly build Medieval architecture is not a landmark, but it’s easily to be one when you’ve got such marvelous castles and buildings speaking of your centuries of intense history.

Tuscany Photo Credits:

And while this destination is always associated with elegance and grace, its popularity made into a beautifully disappointing place to visit. Especially for the middle class, or – simply put – people who are not willing to pay the brand along with the experience and services. This is why we’d strongly recommend you California’s wine country.

Of course, it’s not as romantic as its alternative, and having jumped over a good part of the history makes its cultural content somehow thinner. But if you’re not traveling for the architecture, but for the vineyards and the bohemian experience, you’ve got it all here. The scenic roads are best admired after you’ve rented a car, driving from a vineyard to another, while tasting the ambrosia that comes along with the gorgeous landscapes. Just for pedagogical purposes, while in Tuscany renting a car will cost you over $150, in California $64 would be enough. And this is just one of the many price differences.

California Wine Country Photo Credits:

Bavaria/The Baltic Coast

We love the stunning castles and the music festivals as well. We do agree that paying the branding price to visiting Bavaria is always well worth it. But at the same time, Germany’s got plenty to offer – if not the beer festivals, the local bars are always warm and welcoming for any foreigner who’s the least willing to know and understand their culture.

Bavaria Photo Source:

Despite being labeled as very cold people with privacy issues, the Germans have always been hospitable. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is where you’ll find World Heritages so beautiful that you’ll wonder how come they haven’t made it on the national top of magnificent destinations. The North Sea is really not how you pictured it – as if taken out of the beginning of Narnia stories. It’s calmer and expansive, it’s quiet and vibrant, and you don’t have to dress like an Eskimo to visit. Contrariwise, you’ll be shocked how much you’d love it if you’re the type of person who always wanted to see Bavaria. The Baltic Coast is more like its big, somehow more mature sibling.

The Baltic Coast Photo Credits:

Orient Express/ InterRail Pass

You honestly don’t have to have seen the movie. Orient Express is every little pensive, wistful woman since early childhood, and its’ in every man’s mind to offer their significant other such a romantic experience. Of course, you either have to be a complete castle builder to think of it or just embrace the idea that it is overpriced. €14, 000 is a lot of money.

Orient Express Photo Credits:

On the other hand, less than €500 for a First Class InterRail Pass is undoubtedly something you could afford to spend for the sake of romance. It’s quite an adventure, really and the long journeys are more of an exploration than any other trip you’ve gone to. Once you’re extra careful with your company and you’ve made up your mind on the luggage, it’s guaranteed you’ll love it.

InterRail Photo Credits:

Kilimandjaro/ Kenya

It’s often said, especially in marketing, that the runner-up may prove as better than the first top product. Particularly because, no matter how much stolen the thunder, it’s always going to be giving its best to make you happy and it’s always going to be the one who tries harder. Same applies to some destinations, and this one’s the perfect example. Yes, Kilimandjaro is Africa’s highest mountain, and people got to associate it with pride and performance. Now, while there’s a difference of almost 700 meters between them, when you’re over 5, 000 in the first place it might not matter as much.

Kilimandjaro Photo Credits:

Rainforest, sensationally imposing volcano climbs, and the shorter duration with the less popularity make it cheaper in terms of fees and prices that you’ll find on your way. Bragging rights should be your last concern when having fun and a tremendous experience should be the top matters.

Mt. Kenya Photo Credits:

You don’t have to be on a very tight budget to understand that these differences are huge, and it’s always good to know that there are some alternatives you should take into consideration before starting to save money 5 years in advance. And even if you have this money, you could as well take two or three of the alternatively cheaper holidays than just afford one of them. Either way, it’s a win-win situation – you get to be happy going to some place that’s amazing and you don’t have to worry about paying the landmark more than the experience itself. All in all, totally worth it.

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