Five international cities you can visit this summer without selling a kidney
The following cities offer decent airfare, affordable hotels or other lodging options, and food and drink at prices that will let you actually enjoy yourself.
Here are five of our picks for cheap international cities to visit this summer. Better get booking.
Amsterdam offers travelers pretty much whichever experience they want: Travel like a high-class social elite billionaire, or bum around on couches and brew your own beer. Whatever you want is cool in the Venice of the North.
Flights out of the East Coast run as low as $750 roundtrip, and Amsterdam is well known as a hub for cheap hostels and affordable hotels. If you're willing to stay just outside the canals of the city center, you'll save hundreds. And it's really no big deal, you can rent a bike or very easily take the city's outstanding and easy to use public transportation system.
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Food and drink will cost you a bit more here than most of the other cities on the list, but there are still deals to be had. Again, it's your call here — you can find good deals, like the fast food restaurants that are basically just giant vending machines (selling things like fried gravy balls and pickled herring for about €1 a pop), or you can kick it into high gear and feast at some of the finest restaurants in the world. Our recommendation: Get lost in the Red Light District and find some hole in the wall bars that have been there hundreds of years, offering happy hour specials and local brews.
For the price of two nights in a hotel in most U.S. cities, you can hire a private tour guide in Bangkok (including air conditioned transportation). It might cost you a little more to get there, but once you're there you'll feel like a high-roller with about a tenth of what you'd need to spend on a trip to New York City.
And my goodness, the food! Bangkok is the king of street food. You literally can't turn a corner without bumping into something that looks delicious, and it pretty much always tastes delicious too. Much of it will cost you less than a U.S. dollar. If you want to live it up, hit up one of the open-air restaurants. You can get two meals, beer and dessert for under the equivalent of $20. Head a little bit north to the famed Bang Namphueng Floating Market, and you'll get lunch for three people, including drinks, for about $5. And it's all really tasty.
Bangkok is also the place to get a tailored suit, if you've got a little extra dough to spend. At around $300, it will feel like you're splurging, but compare that to a minimum of $1,000 in the U.S.
Combine all of this with cheap public transportation and some of the friendliest people in the world and you'll have a trip all your friends will be instantly jealous of.
If you're into mind-blowing scenery, some of the best art collections in the known world or the birthplace and modern home to taste-bud pounding cuisine, Florence just might be for you.
Among the money-saving aspects of this classic city: You can pretty much walk wherever you need to get. And while you're doing so you'll get a history lesson in architecture just by vaguely paying attention.
This city is really ideal for history buffs and art lovers on a budget, as you can a whole lotta bang for your buck at the myriad museums littering the city. Check out the Galleria degli Uffizi, which lays claim the world's greatest collection of Italian Renaissance art. Shell out the €8 for an all day art excursion, then fill up your belly on organic, farm-to-table local food and craft beers at the La Toraia food truck. Hipster Nirvana.
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The ancient, hilly and coastal capital city of Portugal — also, it's effing beautiful.
Stroll through the old city, wandering through bookshops, climbing hills (or taking the old trams if you want to save your legs), crushing it on Instagram, or if you're getting bored of the whole beauty of the city thing, kick back at one of the amazing beaches. All of this and you've only actually spent about €6 for the trams (make sure you use the actual city trams, not the new touristy ones). Feeling like you need one more free thing to blow up your Facebook feed? Ascend a parking garage for one of the best views around of a Lisbon sunset.
Oh yeah, plus Portuguese food is amazing, and seafood on the coast is cheap. Not to mention you can down it with a nice bottle of local wine without all that nasty U.S. tax added. For about €20 you can have a meal that will make you question your life choices and seriously consider never going home.
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Oh, and did we mention it's effing beautiful?
Iceland does not have that many people, which is why they really want you to come visit. Iceland Air offers summer fares from NYC for under $700 roundtrip, and you'll notice the airline offers great deals on flights to many of your bucket list destinations in Europe. The catch is you have to transfer through the world's most efficient-for-its-size airport in Reykjavik — or you can just chill (see what we did there?) for up to seven days before heading on to your final destination for free.
You can hang out in cave spas all day, hike a volcano and yes, you can eat puffin. Unfortunately, alcohol is pricey here (as is fresh fruit), because, you know, it's Iceland. But you'll be saving so much money already that you can splurge a little on a night out here and there.
As with all of the cities on this list, the natural surroundings and beauty of the city itself provide plenty to see and do without spending a penny. Be sure to spend some time wandering through local shops and cafes getting to know the people (their English is probably better than yours, FYI). This is one of the most unique locations in the world — soak it in while thinking about how much more you'll need to save to buy that next plane ticket.
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