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For every amazing vacation destination, there is a similar, more affordable option—as long as you know where to look. Traveling is all about the experience and if you can have one for less dough, why wouldn’t you!? The next time you’re planning that perfect trip, peruse this list of affordable counterparts and see just how far you can stretch your dollar.

RELATED: 7 places where you can live like a king on $50 per day

Photos courtesy of Compass and Twine

1. The Hamptons v. Shelter Island, NY

Summering in the Hamptons has been a tradition for well-heeled New Yorkers for years. The uber-wealthy either already own a home there or rent a palatial estate by the month for no pretty penny. The rest of us pack into over-crowded summer shares with friends and squeeze onto the public beaches. If you’re over that scene (and who isn’t), head to Shelter Island instead. Situated at the far eastern end of Long Island, between the North Fork and the Hamptons, Shelter Island is laid-back, picturesque, much more affordable, and a million times more inviting than its counterpart. A two-hour drive from the city and you’re in another world. Shelter Island is accessible by boat only, but that’s no problem at all. A ferry from Greenport, Long Island, runs essentially every 15 minutes. Drive your car aboard, or take the train from NYC to Greenport and walk from the station to the North Ferry dock. The 5 minute boat ride is enough to keep out an obnoxious-sized crowd, so you can enjoy the island experience with much more peace and quiet than the overly trendy Hamptons nearby.

Photo on left courtesy of Compass and Twine

2. Palm Springs, CA v. Scottsdale, AZ

Driving around Palm Springs, California, is like going back in time. The ’50s-style architecture, dubbed “desert modernism,” is prevalent from grocery stores to hotels. Truth be told, the city became popular long before the psychedelic ’60s. Frank Sinatra built a home there in 1947, fondly called Twin Palms, and from then on, rich and famous Hollywood starlets have spent both weekends and winters in this Californian desert oasis. If it’s golfing, hiking, and history lessons you’re looking for, with a side of warm, dry climate on the cheap, opt instead for Scottsdale, Arizona. A thriving food scene is driven by the area’s Southwestern cuisine, local museums give you a glimpse into the frontier culture, and nature preserves afford you the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. This desert scene has a one-up on its California counterpart.

Photo on left courtesy of Compass and Twine

3. St. Barth’s v. Guadeloupe

A vacation to the beautiful St. Barthelemy can cost a small fortune. It’s no wonder the island is a favorite playground for the rich and famous; open any gossip magazine and you’ll see sculpted celebrities frolicking on the beach of iconic (and expensive) hotels such as Eden Rock or Le Sereno. But if it’s the French Caribbean vibe you’re after, check out Guadeloupe Islands. Named one of the 52 places to go in 2016 by the New York Times, the island is on the verge of bursting onto the hotspot scene—meaning it hasn’t become overly expensive yet! Beautiful scenery, stunning beaches, and delicious French-influenced cuisine make it a sure rival to St. Barth’s, especially with flights as low as $79, depending when you book!

4. Nantucket, MA v. Kennebunkport, ME

People go to Nantucket for fresh air, good seafood and a relaxed atmosphere. But on this tiny island, just off the coast of Cape Cod, none of that comes cheap. Unless you are of the moneyed variety, complete with a sweater tied loosely around your shoulders, we suggest heading to Kennebunkport, Maine, instead. If it sounds familiar, perhaps that’s because former President George H.W. Bush and his family have a compound there and we suspect the famous Texans chose the locale because of the unpretentious vibe. You won’t find any expensive hotel brands here; instead look for locally-owned bed and breakfasts, beachfront boutique hotels or cabin-style accommodations tucked neatly in the Kennebunk woods. Looking for lobster? Local spots like Nunan’s Lobster Hut offer killer deals on hot boiled lobster dinners (two 1 1/8lb lobsters served with drawn butter, a roll, and chips for $25.99!) and nearby, the Clam Shack serves one of the best lobster rolls on the East Coast. They’ve won the New York Tasting Table’s Lobster Rumble several years in a row, so be sure to stop in before you stroll around town. Get all the New England charm, without over-the-top preppy stylings in Maine’s beloved beach town.

ALSO: There’s no stand-in for CheapCash—get yours today when you book on CheapTickets!

5. Paris, France v. Québec City, Canada

Paris embodies the romance and sophistication that Europe is so well known for. From high-end shopping along the Champs-Élysées to cappuccino sipping in Montmartre, the French capital has enchanted travelers for centuries. However, a trip to Paris is not always in the cards. It’s a rather long hop across the pond from North America and it can be quite an expensive city. For those looking for all the European charm a little closer to home, look no further than French-speaking Québec City in Québec, Canada. In summer, dine at a little outdoor café for lunch then stroll around admiring the magnificent 17th-century architecture of the colonial settlement. Come winter, meander along the cobblestone streets of their famed Christmas markets or visit the impressive Château Frontenac. With more direct flights than ever before and at a lower price point than Paris, Québec City provides a little Parisian charm on this side of the pond.

6. Las Vegas, NV v. San Juan, Puerto Rico

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas…and that includes all the money you’ll dole out just to be there. Hoping to have some cheddar left over to hit the blackjack table? Think again! With show tickets and amusements costing a pretty penny, Las Vegas can get expensive quickly, so unless you’re a high roller and earned yourself a bunch of freebies, you’ll find it tough to entertain yourself and hit the casinos. Instead, head to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for a weekend of gambling, golfing and beach-going (bonus!). Since it’s a U.S territory, you won’t need a passport and nice hotels—at a great price point—are just a 10-minute cab ride form the airport. Some of the hotel casinos are open all night and, like any good spot, as long as you’re gambling, the drinks are free. The Marriott San Juan has a fun casino, and the Ritz Carlton has a really nice one, as well. When you finally decide to put the chips down and get some fresh air, Puerto Rico has plenty of great golf courses. They also have something Las Vegas doesn’t: beautiful beaches… and going for a swim doesn’t cost a thing!

Photo on right courtesy of Compass and Twine

7. Aspen, CO v. the Adirondacks, NY

There’s no denying Aspen, Colorado is one of the best places in the world to ski. With record amounts of snow each year, the slopes are sure to be covered in powder, meticulously groomed and buzzing with hoards of people. Many wealthy Europeans and Americans make this Colorado hotspot their annual winter escape. With them comes an array of high-end hotels and expensive restaurants. For a more low-key scene, check out the Adirondacks in Upstate New York. The area is home to Whiteface Mountain, the fifth tallest peak in the country and one of the best places to ski on the East Coast. With the largest vertical drop in the East (3,430 feet!) and 87 trails, Whiteface Mountain presents skiers with challenging slopes and long, fun runs. Twice host to the Winter Olympic Games and only 5 hours north of New York City, Lake Placid is an oasis of outdoor activities and relaxation. When you’ve finished with a day full of winter activities, pop into a pub or find a relaxed, local spot for dinner.

Photos courtesy of Compass and Twine

8.  Cabo, Mexico v Tulum, Mexico

The beautiful beaches and fun, carefree atmosphere of Mexico have long attracted travelers from every corner of the globe. Los Cabos, on the west coast, is a wildly popular destination for good reason. A string of stunning and impressive high-end hotels line Cabo’s rocky shoreline. However, in recent years, a new player has come on to the scene in Mexico—Tulum. Few coastlines brandish as much natural beauty as the Riviera Maya on Mexico’s eastern side. Brimming with character and local charm, you won’t find a single Marriott in Tulum. Boutique hotels range from luxury, eco-conscious accommodations to affordable beach bungalows. No matter where you stay the entire town exudes a relaxed bohemian vibe. This little (but growing) Mexican beach town will capture your heart from the moment you step onto its white sands.


Tagged: Beach, Caribbean, City, International, Las Vegas, Mexico, New York City

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So here’s the deal: You’ve only got one shot to get it right when proposing to your partner—and you’ll have the rest of your lives to reflect upon that one shining moment (so no pressure, right?). If you’re looking for some choice proposal ideas, or just the most romantic places in the world, then look no further. Here are the best places to propose on this side of the pond.

RELATED: The best layover cities for you and bae in Europe

Kennebunkport, Maine

Kennebunkport, Maine

On the beach in Kennebunkport, Maine

Picture yourself in Kennebunkport: You’ve just finished a long walk on the beach. Waves are crashing dramatically against the craggy shore, and a lighthouse looms in the distance. He or she is the picture of perfection as you bend down on one knee. Afterward, you can go sailing together or chow down on some seriously fresh lobster rolls and crab cakes.

Butterfly Conservatory

Butterfly Conservatory | Photo courtesy of @mara.castillo

At the Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC

What’s almost as colorful and beautifully chaotic as your love? Being surrounded by swarms of delicate, colorful butterflies, of course. Just don’t visit this seasonal New York City attraction during peak hours or you may end up proposing in the middle of an elementary-school field trip. Best of all, though, before and after you’ll be in one of the greatest cities on Earth, meaning there’s endless amounts of cool, romantic and wonderful ways to share this special day together.

Hot air balloon over Napa | Flickr CC: Noodles and Beef

Hot air balloon over Napa | Flickr CC: Noodles and Beef

Via a hot air balloon ride over Napa Valley

It would be hard to argue against the stunning beauty of Napa Valley. And like most landscapes, it’s perhaps best viewed from above. This is where that hot-air-balloon ride comes into play: Bring some wine or champagne and snacks (we’re looking at you, chocolate-covered strawberries) and take to the skies with your honey, in one of the prettiest, most luxe places in the country.

Rocky National Park

Rocky National Park

Beneath the stars in Rocky Mountain National Park

If you’re an outdoorsy couple, this one’s a no-brainer. Bring your partner to the great outdoors to see those Purple Mountain Majesties up close. And whether you decide to sleep beneath the stars, or simply visit them by stepping outside of your cozy lodge, the views are always magnificent. You’ll have the entire Milky Way as a backdrop as you pop the question.

<imgclass=”wp-image-10112″ src=”” alt=”Forysthe Park, Savannah ” width=”800″ height=”534″ /> Forysthe Park, Savannah

In front of the fountain at Forsyth Park in Savannah

A proposal in a park is quite romantic, and this large public green in Savannah’s historic district makes for a picture perfect setting with its iconic fountain. Take your sweetie by the hand to this grand centerpiece and get ready to get down on one knee. If this spot seems too public, or if you need to build up your confidence, take a leisurely stroll along the park’s paths (don’t worry; you got this).

Sunset Celebration

Sunset Celebration | Flickr CC: <href=””>justiny8s

Surrounded by artistry at Sunset Celebration in Key West

Sometimes we get caught up in the moment, and it can lead to the greatest time of our lives. Key West can be the location. Check out this year-round festival of arts and culture held nightly in Mallory Square, as you two catch street performers and artisans in action. Join in the ceremonies by creating your own masterpiece—the beginning of the rest of your lives together.

Imagine sitting by the fireplace and seeing this outside your window

Imagine sitting by the fireplace and seeing this outside your window

In front of the fireplace in Vermont

The Green Mountain State is nice to visit during all four seasons but in wintertime, it’s purely magical. If you both love hitting the slopes during the day, and curling up by the indoor fire at night, consider renting a room at a cute B&B in Burlington or a major resort in Stowe. Hint: The only ice you should be concerned about is having enough to cover a bottle of champagne!

Fairbanks, Alaska

Fairbanks, Alaska

Under the Northern lights in Alaska

Here’s a different kind of “save the date” event. From September until around mid-April, head to Alaska to observe this nighttime Aurora Borealis. Fairbanks is the best place for viewing the Northern Lights, but be sure to bundle up. The atmosphere offers a great op for getting close while being out in the cold—so have that ring ready to go.

Bioluminescent Bay

Bioluminescent Bay | Photo courtesy of @aeliusmeek

Amidst a surreal natural wonder in Puerto Rico

We’ve got a whole evening in Puerto Rico planned for you: See a show and learn how to salsa together at Nuyorican Café, then kayak along the Bioluminescent Bay, where you’ll finally (carefully) pop the question. Just don’t do it during the trip—you don’t want to drop that ring in the water.

Pfeiffer Beach, California

Pfeiffer Beach, California

At sunset at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur

If you love California beaches, then this postcard spot in the heart of Big Sur will be absolutely perfect. It also feels secluded, as you’ll discover in following the road signs to get you there. Then as you wander along the beach, spot sections of purple-colored sand and huge boulders standing right offshore—then take a selfie with the new ring you’re rocking.


Under the spell of Charleston’s charm

This is your evening itinerary for this South Carolina city: After a romantic dinner at Halls Chophouse and seeing a show at Dock Street Theatre, take a private Palmetto carriage ride through the Commercial District, and ask your driver to make an unexpected stop along the route where you’ll pop the question.


In the same place where you had your first date (duh!)

Yes, this one’s a little obvious, but we mention it for a reason. While it’s not quite as showy as your other options, it’s just so wonderfully sentimental. No matter where that first date took place, this is one for the books. And if you happened to have your first date at Denny’s, well, maybe just make that a small part of your proposal day plan.


Tagged: Beach, California, Caribbean, City, International, Romance & honeymoon, Tips & advice

Michele Herrmann

Michele Herrmann

Michele Herrmann

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