Every year, I tap into top travel experts and influencers to get their picks for the cheapest places to go in the year ahead. These women are savvy travelers who know how to see the world in an affordable way, whether that means vacationing in an up-and-coming budget destination, finding ways to save by sleuthing out cheap hotels, heading to bargain restaurants with amazing eats or snagging the lowest prices by visiting during the off-season. Here’s the best part: These travel pros have circled the globe and done all the work for you, so that you can save the most money on the best travel in 2020. From an exotic archipelago in the Indian Ocean to a cheap European capital to a U.S. wine country getaway where you can afford an extra tasting or two, these are all places you’ll want to put on your bucket list.
Read on for the full list of the cheapest places to travel in 2020, and compare these picks to the most affordable destinations for 2019, 2018 and 2017. And when you get there, send us a postcard from paradise.
Nneya Richards, founder of the blog ’N A Perfect World, in Bergamo, Italy's Upper City at sunset. PHOTO COURTESY OF NNEYA RICHARDS/@NNEYA
Where: Bergamo, Italy
Chosen By: Nneya Richards has long been a fashion and travel maven, starting at 15-years-old as a founding contributing editor of TeenVOGUE magazine. She is also a travel and fashion consultant for publications like Vogue and Popsugar, as well as national television shows like CBS’s This Morning. Richards aims to empower people—especially young women of color—to travel, as she believes it is through exploring the world that we will bridge cultural gaps and misunderstandings. Keep up with her on her blog, ’N A Perfect World and her instagram @Nneya, where she’s also co-host of the weekly IGTV series, Two Aging Millennials.
Why: My partner is originally from Bergamo, where his family owns a third-generation knitwear company, Scaglione, so it’s pretty humorous that having spent a lot of time in Italy, previously, I—like many Americans—only knew the city for its airport. But Bergamo is in the midst of a discreet revitalization burgeoned by affordable airfare on carriers like EasyJet and RyanAir. For nearly 400 years, starting in the 15th century, Bergamo was a part of the Republic of Venice and a relief of the Venetian Winged Lion of St Mark still welcomes visitors at Bergamo’s old city gates. With winding cobblestone streets that open into piazzas and fresco laden palazzos—some still family owned—the city’s wealth is seen in its beautiful medieval architecture.
Smaller and more provincial than its neighbor Milan—40 minutes by car or train—Bergamo offers a competitive world-class art scene (the Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti hails from Bergamo). Bergamo has long attracted outdoors enthusiasts with walking trails surrounding the city and the Orobie Alps, a favorite ski destination. It’s Italy, so regional food is a must: Make sure to try the ravioli-like casoncelli, stuffed with ground beef or sausage, breadcrumbs and cheese, as well as the cheesy polenta taragna. Head to Trattoria La Colombiana for both of these specialties at around 10€ a plate for a heaping amount of food, nonna-style, a delicious local wine list with a generous pour and panoramic views all the way to Milan on a clear day. Afterwards, grab an aperitivo at Location58, where an artfully crafted cocktail costs around 7€.
Aerial view of Zanzibar, also known as the Spice Islands, is one of the cheapest places in the ... [+] GETTY
Chosen By: Katie Jackson is a Montana-based travel writer whose work has been published by Travel & Leisure, USA TODAY, Fox News and The Sunday Times. Every trip she takes is an investment, and she likes to pay the rewards forward by helping other travelers. You can follow her adventures (and misadventures) on Instagram.
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