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Wanna explore an ancient Mayan site for just $3 or bunk in a Nordic-themed hotel-hostel hybrid for less than $50? How about wandering the bustling streets of a Chinese, Indian and Muslim-influenced capital for free? The world is your oyster and it doesn’t even take the price of a pearl to see and do so much of it. Here are 10 destinations to check out in 2020 that won’t break the bank.

RELATED: 10 best cheap places to travel in 2019

Portugal

Silhouette of a little boy standing on the enter in Benagil cave on the coast of the Algarve in Portugal.

Looking for a great reason to visit western Iberia in 2020? We have a few. First, Air Portugal recently launched several non-stop flights from the U.S. for a lot less than other European airlines, and that includes a free five-day “stopover.” Second, UNESCO just recognized two new World Heritage sites in Portugal: the Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary in Braga (to the north) and Mafra National Palace just outside of Lisbon (in the south). On top of that, you’ll still get the same sleepy beaches, fewer crowds, and remarkable outdoor adventure the country is known for, not to mention its beloved “pousadas” (aka converted luxury hotels you can afford).

Campeche, Mexico

Colorful empty colonial street in the historic center of Campeche, Mexico

Get to Campeche right now. We’re not exaggerating. Mexico’s self-described “Rainbow City” offers an old town ringed by ancient fortresses and colorful buildings that offer a siren’s call to Instagrammers, plus the city is a mere stone’s throw to Edzna, a pristine and hardly visited Mayan archaeological site ($3 entry fee) and saner alternative to overrun Chichén Itzá. This Yucatan city is so off radar that it’s near impossible to even find a souvenir shop. That’s about to end. In 2019 its lovely port welcomed its first cruise ship and more are on the way. So seriously, get here now.

Washington, DC

Parents teach daughter about busy public transportation at commuter metro station

In case you’re a cave dweller, there’s a big election happening here in autumn. But 2020 also marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote (make sure you use that fundamental right in said election). Celebrate throughout the year in the nation’s capital with the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the National Museum of American History, the National Portrait Gallery and more—all of which boast special  anniversary exhibitions and all of which are completely free.

North Macedonia

Breathtaking view of Saint John at Kaneo in the morning. It's a Macedonian Orthodox church situated on the cliff over Kaneo Beach overlooking Lake Ohrid in the city of Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia.

Europe has a long list of once-affordable places tourists have rushed to before the masses. Think Prague, Hungary, the Baltic States, Croatia and Portugal. In 2020 the spotlight will shine brightly on affordable North Macedonia (which only added North to its name in 2019). Wander the 12th century Old Bazaar in the capital Skopje, kayak the sublime Matka Canyon and do as European holidaymakers do and swim and sunbathe around Lake Orhid while absorbing regional history. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe and was recently expanded in 2019. The cost? A 4-star hotel in Skopje costs as little as $38.

New York, New York

Happy Young Man Hanging Out In The City

It’s always a great time to visit NYC, but we’re already penciling in a trip for 2020 because there’s so. much. happening. Manhattan essentially created a brand new West Side neighborhood with the addition of Hudson Yards. (We can’t wait to take a selfie on the new observation deck and atop freebie art installation Oculus). And now that Webster Hall reopened, we’re planning on staying across the street at the hip but not tooooooo expensive (especially because they will happily squeeze two twin bunk beds into one room) new Moxy East Village or at Ace’s new budget concept Little Sister.

Neuquen, Argentina

View on the lake Nahuel Huapi near Bariloche, Argentina, from Cerro Campanario

Do you still have FOMO from missing 2017’s total solar eclipse? Or were you so wowed by it that you need to see another one, like right now? Either way, as most stargazers already know, Patagonia is the place to be in 2020 for some of the best views of the total solar eclipse, which takes place December 14. If you’re looking for some company as you gaze towards the heavens, plan on hitting the Total Eclipse Gathering in Neuquen, featuring art, music, yoga and dance (think low-tech Burning Man). And with the Argentine peso still low, you’ll be able to party in style.

Portland, Oregon

Young woman exploring a beautiful waterfall on a hike in the Columbia River Gorge outside of Portland, Oregon. It is winter but green and lush.

Perennial travel favorite Portland will only continue to expand on its traveler-friendly reputation in 2020 with a slate of new hotels, including hip Icelandic hostel-dweller fave Kex Portland, and Pearl District newcomer the Harlow Hotel. Escaping into the Pacific Northwest’s iconic forests has gotten a lot safer with alternate trails across heavily trafficked areas. And finally, sleepers and sprinters alike will appreciate the increasingly gut-busting culinary scene, now with exponentially more pizza thanks to openings of local favorites Baby Doll, Cicoria, Dove Vivi and Montesacro.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Batu Caves Lord Murugan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Want to see a different side of Southeast Asia in 2020? Consider a trip to Kuala Lumpur, the vibrant, underrated capital of Malaysia. Although KL (as it’s often called for short) has been the second-fastest growing destination of 2019, many secrets still dwell within its colorful streets. Malaysia’s rich mix of Chinese, Indian and Muslim citizens permeates both the culinary and cultural fabric of the city, which is worth visiting either as a standalone destination, or as a gateway to the rest of Malaysia. Looking for eye-popping views of twin skyscrapers the Petrona Towers? A luxury five-star right near the Towers costs as little as $69 nightly here.

Key West, Florida

Dry tortuga near key west Florida.

Despite the Keys being devastated by Hurricane Irma in 2017, the nation’s southernmost city is on the come-up with a recent lodging boom that includes cool-kid hotels like adults only, budget hangout NYAH and the pet-friendly Perry. The latest addition, Kimpton Key West, is slated to open in 2020 as Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants’ sixth Florida property and its first in the Keys. And gentlemen, start growing out your facial hair for the 40th annual Hemingway Days in July, when bearded bibliophiles descend upon Key West to honor the iconic author with a look-alike contest, fishing tournament, street fair and more.

Aruba

Aruba, Eagle Beach,CR,GR

We already loved Aruba for its endless miles of crystal waters lapping at white sand beaches, not to mention its fascinating shipwrecks that make for great diving. But, in 2019, the southern Caribbean nation announced major new sustainability initiatives, co-led by both the government and local businesses. For example, while the government is establishing programs to reduce and upcycle plastics, hotel properties like Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort made radical changes to become the Caribbean’s first carbon-neutral resort.

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Tagged: Cheap Tips, Destinations, Mexico, Top 10 list

CheapTickets Blog Editors

CheapTickets Blog Editors

One thought on “10 best cheap places to travel in 2020”

  1. Regarding the NYC recommendations: You noted that Moxy East Village is “across the street” from Hudson Yards. East Village is all the way across town on the East side, while Hudson Yard’s is veryy West Manhattan. There is another Moxy NYC Hotel in *Chelsea*, which is actually the “neighbor” to Hudson Yards. There are several great hotels on the west side. East village is lovely and worth visiting or staying, but just know it is on the opposite side of the island as Hudson Yards and has a very different vibe!

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