Here at Budget Travel, we know nobody wants to skimp on vacation—it’s the time for great food, luxurious surroundings, and breathtaking scenery. But what if we told you that all that can be yours for less than $100 a day? Contributing Editor Darley Newman joined Today show hosts Kathie Lee and Hoda to share five “real” budget destinations:
MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA
Why we love it: This is a gorgeous, warm American beach that’s a road trip away for most Easter Coasters.
What to do: Relax! Miles of warm sand and gentle surf are perfect for families or girlfriend getaways. Nightlife includes oceanfront seafood buffets, local micro-brews, and boardwalk rides (like the Twist ‘n Shout roller coaster) that turn grownups into kids.
Where to stay:Westgate Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Resortincludes beach access, a heated pool, and a kids-eat-free policy (from $75/night).
7-DAY CARIBBEAN CRUISE ON THE NORWEGIAN GETAWAY
Why we love it: A super-stylish new Norwegian Cruise Line mega-ship is hitting knockout destinations like St. Maarten and St. Thomas—and you can totally afford it.
What to do: The brand-new mega ship Norwegian Getaway (featuring chic Miami-themed food, entertainment, and decor!) departs from Miami and leaves plenty of time for you to explore the beaches, open-air markets, and shops of St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Nassau.
Bottom line: This seven-day cruise starts at $449 (that’s less than $65/day!).
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: IBEROSTAR COSTA DORADA ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORT
Why we love it: “All-inclusive” means you may not have to reach for your purse the entire stay! And unlike some resorts, this place pours top-shelf cocktails for no extra charge!
What to do: Hang a do-not-disturb sign on the door of your thatched-roof lodgings! Or indulge in cuisine that includes Brazilian, Mexican, and international menus. Lounge on the beach or beside the massive pool, or get adventurous with kayaking or diving lessons in a tropical paradise.
Bottom line: The Iberostar Costa Dorada, just 10 minutes from Puerto Plata, completely renovated its 500+ rooms in 2011. All-inclusive lodging, three a la carte restaurants, and top-shelf drinks from $75 per person per night based on double occupancy.
Why we love it: With world-class food, theater, and art, the Windy City is second to none in style!
What to do: Enjoy the peerless art collection at the Chicago Art Institute (including Seurat’s pointillist masterpiece, “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte”); see a great play at Steppenwolf Theater; have a ball on the classic Navy Pier (one of Budget Travel’s “most awesome boardwalks in America”); take a cruise on the Chicago River; explore some of America’s most noteworthy architecture (including some of the highest observation decks in the world!); and take your pick of cuisine—from heaped-high hot dogs to an under-$30 lunch at the fantastic Café des Architectes restaurant.
Where to stay:Hotel Blake is in a lovely 19th-century building a short walk from the upscale shops and boutiques of State Street, from $95/night when booked via Expedia.
Why we love it: Step back in time in an 18th century fishing village. Enjoy the friendly locals, freshest seafood EVER, and a European feel right here in North America!
What to do: Old Town Lunenburg is a lovely 18th-century century heritage site in Nova Scotia. Stroll past brightly colored wood-framed houses painstakingly preserved by Lunenberg’s citizens. Buy a $10 ticket to the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic and its wharves to behold floating replicas of famous trawlers and schooners. Grab an amazing bowl of chowder and traditional Lunenburg fish cakes at local favorite, The Knot Pub.
Where to Stay: Quaint and cozy, the Smugglers Cove Inn is right by the docks. For $5 a night, you can even rent a Beta fish, which the hotel calls "a free 'therapy' session to help you relax." (From $99/night)
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