“The urge to journey beyond the clichés looks set to intensify in 2014,” the Wall Street Cheat Sheet recently declared. And, among seasoned travelers, it’s difficult to disagree. Interest in taking the roads (and air routes) less traveled—and finding great values both in terms of the quality of the experience and the relatively low costs—is definitely on the rise.
What are some of these high-value destinations? The Cheat Sheet chose 5:
- Ecuador. About the size of Colorado, Ecuador offers immense variety from the Andes to the Amazon, to the Galapagos, to the cultural sophistication of major cities such as Quito and Cuenca. While a trip to the Galapagos Islands can be costly, bargains abound throughout the rest of the country. A mid-range hotel, for example, is about $50 a night, and a 3-day stay in a high-end Amazon jungle lodge comes to about $250 per person, all-inclusive. It’s no wonder that Travelzoo has also named Ecuador as one of its “Wow Deal Destinations” for 2014.
- Cambodia. Across the globe from Ecuador, Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh, pulsates with frenzied energy, offering upscale restaurants and hotels, pagodas and palaces, and a vibrant, entertaining street life. Outside the city, travelers can explore Chi Pat, the largest remaining rainforest in Southeast Asia. The cost? Backpackers can see the country in fine style for $30 a day. Five-star hotels are a steal at $100 a night.
- India. India’s diversity has long been legendary—everything from snow-capped mountains, exotic wildlife, and Hindu temples to vibrant markets, decaying fortresses, and the bustling cities of Mumbai and Delhi. And, with the recent decline of the Indian currency, the rupee, the country’s travel values could soon become legendary, too. In fact, former Raj palaces are being transformed into high-end—and increasingly affordable—hotels for travelers.
- Nicaragua. With eco-travel on the rise, Nicaragua offers natural wonders and wildlife experiences comparable to nearby Costa Rica or Belize for a fraction of the cost. Just a handful of sights range from perfect cone volcanoes and crater lakes to lobster dinners served on white sand beaches beneath the stars.
- Portugal. While Lisbon’s old-world charms continue to lure travelers to this understated Iberian country, Porto—the heart of the country’s wine district—is becoming increasingly popular. With low-cost boutique hotels opening regularly, it’s even coming to represent what the Cheat Sheet calls “a cheap-chic ethos quite befitting Europe’s mood of the moment.”
For some additional nuggets of information, check out the Cheat Sheet article.
Finally, are there some high-value destinations you’d readily add to this list? If so, please write a comment to this post. We’d be thrilled to hear your thoughts.