2011's Cheap Travel Destinations: Go Big on a Budget

cheap travel destinations

Photo by Evelyn Proimos via Flickr.

If you can't make it to the big destination of your dreams this year, don't worry, there are plenty of cheap travel destinations that will give you the same thrills and chills for much less. Whether you're looking for a foodie haven, an urban metropolis, or a beach bum paradise, you'll save big bucks with fantastic but often overlooked spots. So prepare to get away on just a little bit of moolah; here are our top 3 cheap travel destinations.

Brussels, Belgium
If you can't jet off to Paris this summer, think of its nearby neighbor, Brussels. This beautiful Belgian city has the same edge as Paris with funky art existing next to centuries old architecture, delicious restaurants with French flare, and a budding shopping community; French is even one of the most widely spoken languages in the city. But unlike Paris, Brussels and its quirky style are often overlooked by travelers searching for a romantic European city, making flights a little cheaper and hotels a little more cost efficient at this cheap travel destination.

Key West, Florida
Crystal waters, soft sands and stunning sunsets, you can find these glorious items at many beaches. However, Key West has a great mix of food and art that mimics the personality of epic beach escape, Aruba. Save some cash and stay in the States by heading down to the Florida Keys for some history, courtesy of Ernest Hemingway's former home, delicious meals, ala world famous pies, and total relaxation at luxurious resorts like the oceanfront Hyatt and Casa Marina.

Shawangunk Wine Trail, New York
Napa Valley, California has some of the world's best wineries and restaurants, and because of that, it can be really pricey to spend a week there. Alternatively, the Shawangunk Wine Trail of Upstate New York is a great cheap travel destination for oenophiles. It may not operate all year long, but it has some very quality wines and amazing lush hilly views – all just hours from the hustle and bustle of New York City. With 10+ vineyards and wineries, and a handful of adorable bed-and-breakfasts on the trail of Marlboro, New York, it's a fantastic cheap and fast escape.

For 10 more ideas for where to take a good-value vacation in 2011, watch Executive Editor Jason Cochran's interview with Lonely Planet's Robert Reid:

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