We all want the best bang for our buck when it comes to finding a good vacation. After all, a vacation isn't something tangible that we can gauge based on its value nor it is something we can fully predict. Therefore, it makes sense that we'd want to start saving money before we even spend it. After all, who knows if we'll really think that a destination is worth spending a three-thousand on versus dropping a grand or so?
With this in our minds, it doesn't help that social media does a fantastic job at curating our feeds with the most stunning of destinations... and they all come with a price tag. Just when we thought we were happy getting to know our local beaches and national parks, a picture appears with a far-off, exotic location, and, suddenly, our wanderlust grows. So, how can travelers avoid the FOMO when it comes to some of the world's premier vacation destinations? By exploring other, more affordable, less touristy, places.
Instead Of Tuscany, Positano, Or Rome: Arezzo, Italy
All of the first three cities make up some of the most popular destinations in Italy to visit, and all come at a high cost. Don't be mistaken - just because it costs an arm and a leg to vacation in a city doesn't mean that it's not worth it. However, if you're trying to stick to a budget and aren't completely attached to the most popular, touristy destination, then Arezzo is an excellent alternative.
This is Tuscany's third-largest city so travelers aren't sacrificing any real urban vibes there, and it still grants access to the beauty and charm of the region. With its medieval history, travelers might not get the strong Roman presence they're after but they will have enough to pique their interest. And, finally, it won't have Positano's dramatic seaside views but it does offer a stunning overlook of the towns and city below, as the town itself is built high into the hilltops.
Instead of Paris or Nice: Avignon, France
Many history lovers might argue that Avignon is truly the jewel of France and is worth visiting over the others, if only for its unique architecture and old-world atmosphere. The city is located in Provence so you already know it's going to be a gorgeous area, surrounded by a stunning landscape. It's also built into the hillside above the Rhone river, from which enormous Gothic spires and towers loom in the background, serving as the dramatic and mysterious backdrop that is Avignon.
The city itself has a history that dates back to the 14th century, and it's also home to one of the largest Gothic medieval buildings in Europe, Palais de Papas. Avignon is romantic and cozy, and for those who are looking to explore its history, its UNESCO World Heritage status is an alluring incentive.
Instead of Amsterdam: Utrecht, Holland
The city of Utrecht is not far from Amsterdam but stands as somewhat of a more historical, quieter version. Finding huge crowds and bars that are open all hours of the night isn't all that likely here, but travelers can take in the city's cobblestone streets and a canal system that's similar to that of its neighboring city.
Back in the 8th century, Utrecht was the religious center of the Netherlands, according to Global Grasshopper, and much of its original architecture and style from then until the 14th century can still be seen today. Uniquely themed coffee shops and local bars line the center of the city so there is still that social atmosphere, with a lot of history thrown in.
Instead Of Dublin: Galway, Ireland
Most people head to Dublin as their first stop of several when it comes to planning a trip to Ireland, as it's the most popular city in the country. While Dublin is a worthy place to be and isn't as prone to overcrowding as many other tourist-filled cities, Galway is still a wonderful alternative to consider, at least for part of the trip.
Those who are familiar with the city are likely so thanks to its vibrant music scene as well as its coastal seaport on the west side of Ireland. Live music and storytelling can be found at practically any bar or café throughout the city, and the feeling of the local community is truly unbeatable. The atmosphere is warm and inviting and each street throughout has a number of pubs, coffee shops, boutiques, and even street food. Not to mention, the historic architecture only adds to the romantic medieval effect this city has on many.