VACATION IDEAS

Dream Trips You Can Actually Afford

Think dream trips like Europe and Hawaii are totally out of reach? You'd be surprised how many affordable packages are out there to help. Here's our ultimate list of dream trip adventures—plus, the travel deals to help you get on your way.

Of course, if you are between the ages of 18 and 35 and are looking for an exciting way to see the continent and make new friends from around the world, opt for a good old-fashioned bus tour by Contiki, a company that's been around since the 60s and is still full of young people traveling abroad for the first time whether they're from the U.S., Australia, or everywhere in between. The best part about Contiki: you'll get a ton of included guided tours, day-trips, and exclusive access to cool places (like a behind-the-scenes tour of a popular French Perfumery with special discounts in the gift shop!) as well as a mix of free time to go out and explore the city you're visiting. There are different levels of tours and accommodations depending on your budget and the kinds of places you want to stay in, and several meals like daily breakfasts and the occasional lunch or dinner are part of the deal. I took my first group tour with Contiki in 2013, spent 10 days getting to know London and Paris with really fun people from several different countries, and had so much fun, I came home and booked my next one from Amsterdam to Barcelona for the following summer! You tend to bond quickly with your travelmates on a bus tour—I've had several new friends from Australia and Canada visit me in New York since then and have kept in touch with many others post-trip thanks to social media.

Book it: Visit Contiki's website to learn more about sales on travel packages to Europe and all over the world. I went on their London & Paris, Plus Paris Extension tour in Oct. 2013 (from $1,545 per person, land only), and  their Amsterdam to Barcelona tour in May 2014 (from $2,299 per person, land only).

Caribbean Cruise

For a little affordable fun closer to home, opt for one of Norwegian Cruise Line's finest. The Norwegian Getawayset sail from Miami on a 7-day adventure to Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. Don't miss brand new waterslides, Legally Blonde The Musical, and dinner-and-a-magic-show in The Illusionarium, among other family-friendly onboard activities. Adults will love the Svedka Ice Bar, onboard casino, and tons of entertainment ranging from nightclubs and live music to an improv dueling pianos bar. The Norwegian Breakaway sets sail from New York City on a 7-day trip to Bermuda and offers Broadway show Rock of Ages and other only-in-New York themed experiences, and, as on every Norwegian ship, a wide variety of restaurants to satisfy your every craving.

Book it: Cruises onboard Norwegian Getaway start at $599 per person. Cruises onboard Norwegian Breakaway start at $599 per person. Great news for solo travelers: Norwegian's ships offer a special section full of studio-style staterooms that help to lower costs if you're traveling alone.

African Safari

Who says you can't afford to take a safari in Africa? You just have to know where to look. Keep an eye out for sales at tour companies like G Adventures, Intrepid Travel, and others that frequently run tours to Africa. SmarTours is having a sale right now on a 9-day trip to South Africa that includes airfare from New York City on South African Airways, four nights' accommodations in Cape Town, two nights' accommodations in Kruger National Park, the flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg, a guided tour of Cape Town, and a full-day open-vehicle guided safari in Kruger National Park. If a Kenya safari is more your style, Intrepid Travel offers an 8-day trip to Nairobi, Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha, Loita Hills, and gives you time at the Masai Mara National Reserve.

Book it: SmarTours' sale for the Cape Town & Safari Express tour ends on Apr. 23rd, so if you want to take advantage of the sale price (from $1,899 per person including airfare from New York City), don't wait—prices go up to from $2,399 per person once the sale is over. The Kenya Wildlife Safari tour is available from Intrepid Travel, from $1,105 per person, land only.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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