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Unconventional Destinations To Stretch Vacation Dollars

Author: Matthew Williams

It's summertime in America and just about time to start thinking about a winter vacation destination. A lot of people will look to Europe and hope to eat croissants in Paris or to watch the guard change at Buckingham Palace. More people will head to the Caribbean or Hawaii, secure in the thought of staying close to home and being able to speak English. But, for people who want to try something a bit different, there's a whole world out there and it can be overwhelming to find a place to go. Luckily for you, here's a list of unconventional destinations for all travelers.

The Frugal European Traveler

Europe, even these days in the midst of the Greece crisis, is expensive. Fortunately, Eastern Europe is well-priced and, as it's still largely undiscovered by tourists, the region can be a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of traditional European vacations.

For travelers looking for the big city experience, Serbia offers up Belgrade, a city steeped in history and chock full of things to do. Food is cheap and delicious and the country, still recovering from the aftermath of the Yugoslav Wars, is a unique and inexpensive city to visit. If beaches are more your thing, neighboring Montenegro offers breathtaking scenery and a party atmosphere. Often overshadowed by Dubrovnik and other sea-side towns in Croatia, Montenegro, a former celebrity hotspot, is poised to return to its status as a luxury vacation destination. Popular towns to visit include Budva and Kotor. (For more, see: Best Credit Cards For Travel To Europe.)

The Adventurer

Travelers looking for something more adventurous should look to South Africa. The former British colony is one of the most accessible African countries to the United States with daily direct flights from New York and visa-free entry for American citizens. Despite South Africa's tumultuous past, the country is relatively safe to visit and the cities are well-connected via buses and train.

Whether looking for a big city experience, a vacation filled with history and opportunities to learn, or a beach vacation, South Africa has you covered. No visit to Africa is complete without a safari, and South Africa is a safer country than nearby Tanzania and Kenya in which to see the Big Five animals. (See also, The Basics Of Travel Insurance.)

The Snowbirds

If you've been saving your vacation time for years in the hopes of getting away from America for an entire long, cold winter, India is the place to go. A country of over a billion people, India is readily accessible from America and, as of this year, allows Americans to stay for periods of up to six months. With multiple World Heritage Sites to visit, an extensive rail network, national parks, festivals, the party district of Goa, and the large cities of Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Chennai to explore, six months might not even be enough to see everything that India has to offer.

The country is one of the cheapest in Southeast Asia and prices are, by and large, negotiable. Backpacker travelers budget around US$20-25 per day which makes wintering in India an inexpensive way to stay warm all year!

The Family Vacation

Heading to Eastern Europe, South Africa or India may not be viable options for families. Thankfully, Canada offers a ton to entertain a family on vacation. With the American dollar worth about C$1.20, limited budgets stretch farther once you (frugally!) drive across the border.

Like all the countries on this list, Canada has a little something for everyone. In the west, tourists can explore the Rocky Mountains, visit the beaches, tour two Olympic facilities, and visit one of the largest malls in the world. In the east, visitors can see Niagara Falls, tour the European-feeling streets of Old Montreal and the walled city of Quebec, and experience the historic areas of Atlantic Canada. (For more, see: Credit Cards With Travel Insurance.)

The Bottom Line

Vacations are extremely important for workers' spirits. With few Americans taking vacations and even fewer still leaving the country for their holidays, a lot of time should be put into choosing a vacation destination. By picking a destination that's off the beaten path, travelers will meet few tourists and, as a result, will find their vacation much less stressful than waiting in line for hours to ride popular roller coaster or to visit a famous museum.

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