San Antonio, Texas, the United States of America
Whether you’re craving Tex-Mex or authentic Mexican food, San Antonio has it. Before my family could afford international destinations, we’d road trip from Houston to San Antonio for the weekend. From strolling along the San Antonio River Walk to chasing thrills at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, we always had a blast. There are also plenty of historic sites that you can visit like the San Fernando Cathedral, which hosts nightly light shows at no cost.
If you find yourself visiting San Antonio during the weekend, be sure to wander through the farmer’s market at the Pearl Brewery. After graduating from college, I spent two years living in San Antonio and the Pearl Brewery was the first stop for my out-of-town visitors.
I spent a month traveling throughout Mexico last January and I found Puebla to be a pleasant surprise. The city is a UNESCO heritage site and it’s easy to see why. Architecture lovers could spend days exploring the historical center and marveling at what seems like an endless amount of churches.
Despite this being Mexico’s fourth largest city, you’ll hardly see any other tourists. It felt like I had the place all to myself. It’s one of those cities where you can just soak in the tranquil atmosphere. The region is known for its Mole sauce, which you can’t miss while visiting.
Ciara Johnson is a blogger, writer, and full-time traveler from Houston, TX. When she’s not on the road, she’s laughing with friends, watching documentaries and eating Chipotle. You can follow her travels on Instagram or at www.heyciara.com.
Hawaii, the USA
I go to Hawaii every year. I’ve been going for years and love all of the islands. Flights to Hawaii from the mainland are generally pretty cheap, especially in the past few years. Although it isn’t the most inexpensive when you arrive, it is well worth it because you get the South Pacific feel with the comforts of America… and a shorter plane flight.
I particularly recommend Maui, perhaps my favorite places in the world, and the little visited island of Lanai. For golf lovers I’d recommend the Four Seasons at Lanai.
I visited St. Helena earlier this year and it blew my mind. It’s a trek to get there in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean but it’s a relatively cheap destination once you arrive. It’s very off-the-beaten path, but with great hiking, fascinating English mixed with island culture, good food and even the world’s most remote golf course. The airport alone makes it worth a visit as they basically shaved down a mountain to make it possible. St. Helena is probably not on your short list but it should be on your bucket list.
Lee Abbamonte has traveled to every country in the world as well as both the North and South Poles. Dubbed the “Marco Polo of the 21st Century” by Arthur Frommer, he is a multimedia travel expert, national television personality and adventurer. Lee has appeared on CNN, Fox News and the Travel Channel, as well as the New York Times, USA Today and Washington Post. Follow his adventures on Instagram.
Province of Laguna, the Philippines
I’ve traveled to 121 countries in the world but I’ll always be proud to say that I grew up here! The Philippines is already popular because of our white sand beaches in Palawan, Cebu or Boracay; the surfing in Siargao, the mountains in the north but Laguna Province is less well-known.
If you have a few days stopover in Manila, I’d recommend a visit to the Province of Laguna. It has hot springs as well as San Pablo City, also known as the City of Seven Lakes. My favorite lakes to visit are Pandin Lake and Yambo Lake. Most of these attractions are easily accessed by car rental or taking the local public transportation called tricycle, which costs less than $10.
I might be biased, but if you live in the Province of Laguna, or even visit, consider yourself blessed! You get to experience and enjoy the fresh air, the wonderful structures, great delicacies and warmth of the people in the province.
The Balkan Peninsula
We all think Europe is expensive but I beg to disagree. Traveling around Europe doesn’t need to cost you an arm, a leg and perhaps a kidney. If you want to experience Europe on a budget, I’d recommend exploring the Balkan Peninsula. Croatia is the most popular Balkan country and can be expensive so I’d recommend starting a trip around the Balkan Peninsula in Herceg Novi, Montenegro. From there you can cross the border and travel by bus to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I spent five days in Montenegro last year and I felt like it was never enough. We went on a boat tour to Perast, Porto Montenegro, Our Lady of the Rocks and wrapped up the trip by kayaking and paddle boarding on the beach nearby. Other fun activities include paragliding and diving. The best part is that all of these activities are way cheaper compared to other European cities.
After having travelled the world, Kach Howe is the writer and online entrepreneur behind Two Monkeys Travel and Mr and Mrs Howe, with her husband Jonathan. Together, they’ve visited 80 countries and seven continents (including Antarctica!), but they are in the midst their biggest adventure yet: living and exploring the seas on their 37 foot sailboat, SV Empress. Follow their epic journey on Instagram.
Home to the Taj Mahal, Agra is on many traveler’s lists. And although it costs around $43 to enter, the surrounding area is relatively inexpensive.
It is definitely a well-known destination, so if you want your Taj Mahal shot, be sure to go in the morning. Considered to be the jewel of Islamic art in India, it was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his wife – likely one of the biggest declarations of love in the world.