10 TO WATCH
Top Budget Travel Destinations for 2011
We analyzed a year's worth of news, trends, and statistics to identify the world's best value destinations for 2011. From China to our own backyard, here are ten places that you can't afford to miss.
Price check: Even in July, flights aren't cheap. Still, Spirit Airlines seems to have the monopoly on bargains in this case. The best deal is a round-trip nonstop ticket from Miami for $253; other direct flights run $334 from New York and $348 from Chicago (all on Spirit).
Where to stay: Ditch the resorts and head to Jake's Place on Treasure Beach, an under-the-radar string of fishing villages along Jamaica's southwest coast. The boho-chic hotel is run by Jason Henzell, whose dad directed the 1972 classic The Harder They Come, starring Jimmy Cliff. Islandoutpost.com/jakes, doubles from $105
BANFF, ALBERTA CANADA
Why in 2011: Rising out of Alberta's Rockies, this all-season tourist favorite spans over 2,564 square miles and is credited with some of North America's best slopes, not to mention hot springs, bike trails, and golf courses. The fact that their 125-year anniversary was last year is a technicality they've conveniently chosen to overlook as they continue to celebrate in 2011 with cheap lift tickets (rates haven't increased since 2007 and will remain static this year) and the low 2010 price of $10 for park entry. Perhaps Alberta's 6.5 percent drop in visitors in the past couple of years is also a motivating factor behind the specials.
When to go: Prime ski season is December through March, but if you're a true snow bunny who would rather jump moguls than sip hot cocoa in the lodge, visit in April, when the slopes are less packed and daylight lasts for 12 hours. Dig hiking and biking? Try September, when the aspen trees are at their most golden.
Price check: Recent non-stop round-trips for March started at $343 from Las Vegas (WestJet) and $440 from Seattle (Alaska Air). One-stops were going for $442 from Orlando (Delta) and $479 from Philadelphia (United).
Where to stay: Deer Lodge is centrally located, charmingly rustic—cast-iron radiators and brass fixtures adorn the rooms—and has the perfect après-ski draw: a rooftop hot tub that overlooks Banff's Victoria Glacier. Crmr.com/deer-lodge.php, doubles from $119
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