20 Unforgettable Bucket List Trips On A Budget

It's already spring and many people are already making vacation plans. You're ready to stoke your wanderlust and your feet are itching to explore new roads. If money grew on trees, you'd be off right now. But traveling on a budget takes planning. With some research you can still enjoy trendy cities, crazy adventures in remote areas, and breathtaking scenery.

Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Explore the capital of Vietnam. You'll be amazed at the centuries-old architecture and rich culture. For a more active adventure,  head to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It puts explorative kayakers amidst striking limestone islands, rugged rock formations and low caves, making it a less intense but still exotic and exciting destination for capturing extraordinary footage. The bay in the Gulf of Tonkin includes 1,600 islands and islets. Most of them are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence.

Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is one of the most photographed canyons in the American Southwest. It is made up of two canyons. The upper is approximately 4,000 feet in elevation. When the sunlight shines in the colors of the canyon, they appear to vibrate off of the walls. Make sure you have time for a hike to the Horsehoe Bend.  The trailhead to this easy hike is located just outside of Page, Arizona. It overlooks one of the most spectacular views on the Colorado River, 4 miles south of the Glen Canyon Dam, and 7 miles north of mile zero of the Grand Canyon. A trip to the Grand Canyon is incomplete without a hike and the Bright Angel Trail is an incredible choice. The trail leads hikers from the south rim down to the Colorado River, over the course of 9.5 miles. 

Sydney, Australia

This coastal city is lively and unconventional—and that's exactly what attracts visitors from around the world. From the moment you arrive, you'll get the sense that there's no such thing as a dull moment in Sydney and you'd be exactly right. Preserved land (and the wild animals that call it home) is set among high-rise buildings, making for an interesting juxtaposition and nearby beaches round out the trifecta. Walk the Sydney Harbor Bridge for one-of-a-kind views, see the infamous Sydney Opera House and learn to surf at Bondi Beach.

Seville, Spain

Located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, Seville has a rich Moorish heritage. It used to be a prosperous port that carried out trade with the Americas, according to Spain.info. The streets and squares in the historic quarter are bustling. Locals treasure many constructions that have the World Heritage designation, and many districts are full of traditional culture like Triana and La Macarena. Museums, theme parks, theatres, and clubs are some of the many leisure options available.

Denali National Park, Alaska

This national park features North America's highest mountain – the 20,310-foot tall Denali peak, formerly known as Mount McKinley. The Alaska Range also includes countless other spectacular mountains and many large glaciers. Denali's more than 6 million acres also encompass a complete sub-arctic eco-system with large mammals such as grizzly bears, wolves, Dall sheep, and moose. The park accommodates a wide variety of visitor use including wildlife viewing, mountaineering, and backpacking.

Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia incorporates the provinces of Aksaray , Nevsehir , Nigde , Kayseri and Kirsehir cities. This is a semi-arid region in central Turkey that is most famous for odd rock formations clustered in Monks Valley. Tourists go to explore Bronze Age homes carved into valley walls by cave dwellers and later used as refuges by early Christians. There are many cave hotels you can stay in, including the Uchisar Cave Pansion, which offers hiking, horseback riding, hot air balloon tours, and bike tours.

Marrakech, Morocco

Gardens, markets, and city squares become extraordinary works of art in Marrakech in the spring. The city that was founded in 1062 A.D. has historical roots that run deep with a patchwork of modern elements thrown in. Stop in to the infamous Jardin Majorelle, don't miss the electric main square – the Djemaa El-Fna – and spend a night out in the Ville Nouvelle. This incredible city is also loved for its food.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Climbing Machu Picchu may be difficult for some, but it is definitely worth it. Perched above the Urubamba River, this is a once in a lifetime hike. You will have the opportunity to discover a piece of history and admire some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. Take any trek along the Inca Trail and finish at Machu Picchu. You will get to walk right through the Sacred Valley, which is an ancient wonder of the world. The Classic 4-day hike is among the most popular because any reasonably fit person will not have any trouble finishing the hike.

Havana, Cuba

You can start planning your vacation to explore the beauty that lies in Cuba. It is becoming a hot spot so go now before prices skyrocket. Stay at the historic, and renovated, Hotel Saratoga on the outskirts of Old Havana. Don't miss a chance to enjoy the rooftop pool from which you can see the entire city and its classic beauty.

Reykjavik, Iceland

The capital of Iceland has virtually no pollution, drinking water pollution and inaccessibility is very low, and so is dissatisfaction with green areas and parks in the city. The city is known for their extraordinary landscapes. Iceland, the thrilling "Land of Fire and Ice," should be on your bucket list. Few other countries on the planet have wild lava fields, sky-high waterfalls and black sand beaches in one place, but even fewer offer them for a modest sum of money. Bonus: You won't spend a dime for water – tap water there is among the cleanest in the world.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

A city in the midst of change, Siem Reap is working to strike a balance between ancient traditions and modern amenities. The city is a well-known gateway for tourists and backpackers looking to explore ancient temples in Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, but it's more than a simple jumping off point. Tour the city on bike or horseback, sample traditional Cambodian dishes and visit one of the many luxury spas for a relaxing afternoon.

New Orleans, Louisiana

You won't make a mistake booking a trip there. As the Cajun French say, "Laissez les bons temps rouler"—let the good times roll. New Orleans is a destination unlike any other, steeped in history, famous fare and good times. Best known for Mardi Gras, the city has earned a wild reputation and Bourbon Street is always worth a stroll, but there's more to the city than a stretch of bars. Visit the historic French Quarter, tour the Garden District and take one of the amazing ghost tours that winds through bars, alleyways, and cemeteries. There is plenty to do besides eating and drinking. The city has live music in almost every bar (and corner) at night.

Wanaka, New Zealand

Wanaka ski resort is the home of the largest heli-skiing area outside North America, towering peaks dip into lush valleys as alpine lakes, rivers and glaciers dot the landscape. Queenstown's lesser-known counterpart is a must-visit adventure area for those looking to escape some of the more touristy areas of New Zealand. Explore the stunning Mt. Aspiring National Park, take in the views by sky diving or paragliding, enjoy the pristine lakes by kayak, or take in the town that hasn't yet been overrun by tourism.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is a city rich in history and cultural heritage, and it can be seen everywhere you go. From the statue of the Infant Jesus in its shrine, to the Old Town Square, which has had few changes since its construction in the 10th Century, and the fully-functional 15th Century Astronomical Clock, there's sights to see from Prague's past. Go on a tour walking on cobble stone streets to see the beautiful baroque and Gothic architecture. The Czech capital is home to one of the most gorgeous bridges in the world – the Charles Bridge.

Montreal, Canada

Head north this summer to cool off in Montreal, the city brimming with fine food, contemporary design and festival after festival. A major hub for creatives like musicians, dancers and writers, the city itself feels inspired and there's always something going on. From bike festivals to electronic music festivals, Montreal has a little something for everyone. Montreal has one of the best bike sharing programs in the world, so why not make the most of it and explore this beautiful city in an active and adventurous way?

New York City, New York

The city that never sleeps is on the bucket list of many travelers. Most likely  because it's such a popular destination and so many airlines fly there, you can find good deals almost any time of the year. The most physically-imposing of New York's cultural sites is the Empire State Building, but as a busy and dense American city, there are a number of other places at the heart of the Big Apple's culture, like Broadway, the world's premier musical theatre location, and the Yankee Stadium, home to the eponymous New York's baseball team. You can take the subway to almost any attraction in the five boroughs and save a lot of money.

Masai Mara, Kenya

Known as one of the best country parks in Kenya, Maasai Mara offers a wide range of safaris – hot air balloons, walking, photographing...The reserve, along with the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, forms Africa's most diverse eco-system. The best time to visit is between July and October because of the wildebeest migration, famous as the World Cup of Wildlife. Even if you go off season, the number of animals you'll see – from zebras and giraffes to lions, elephants and leopards – is incredible.


Visit Mongolia for a great deal of history, landmarks and fun. Check out the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, visit the Zaisan Memorial, the Choijin Lama Temple Museum, the Zanabazar Museum of Fine Art, and National Park Mongolia 13th century. For a more active adventure, go on a Mongolia travel tour. Try the Wild Mongolia trip, hike to the peak of a volcano, visit Khovsgol Lake, explore the palaces, watch cultural performances and relax Tsenkher's hot springs.

St. Petersburg, Russia

The Russian ruble has been on a downward spiral since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2014 due to international sanctions. Direct flights are now down to about $600. You can see the famous palaces in St. Petersburg for a lot less, as well. St. Petersburg is the often referred to as Russia's cultural heart. View superb architectural gems like the Winter Palace and the Kazan Cathedral.

Costa Rica

From volcano hiking to jungle zip lining, the country is essentially an adventure-lover's paradise, and with its many stunning landscapes it also makes for a romantic honeymoon setting. One trip can easily include hiking, biking, kayaking, and whitewater rafting through jungles. If you are ready to face your fears, head to Cocos Island, one of the world's most famous places for shark sightings. Nosara is one of the coolest surf towns in the world. Tourists are lucky to get long pristine beaches and copious wildlife in addition to awesome waves for surfing.