March 4, 2019
Paying for your dream vacation doesn’t need to be a nightmare — and MONEY’s 2019 Best in Travel guide is proof. From dramatic beaches and ski-friendly mountains to lively cities and seaside towns, the 20 destinations that make up our annual list are mindful of both your wanderlust and your wallet.
For the fourth year, MONEY is highlighting domestic and international locations that offer the best value for you right now. Our winners, distributed around the globe, are full of activities and amenities that make vacations memorable—at price points that make them relatively affordable.
There’s no favoritism here. To create the list, we employed a rigorous methodology featuring more than 43,000 data points collected from dozens of sources, including our main partner, Kayak.com. We evaluated the cost and quality of nearly 750 popular destinations to find you the ultimate travel experiences. (See full methodology.)
Each destination is accompanied by an estimated all-inclusive cost, taking into account the average airfare to the closest airports and hotel room price as well as meals and activities for two. For international destinations, prices are for a weeklong vacation, and domestic prices are for three days. We also evaluated hotels to make your travel process seamless: See our list of amazing hotels in our best places to travel. It’s time to start plotting your next place to go.
Average airfare: $310
Average hotel night: $209
Cost of a 3-day trip for two: $1,729
Home of the Alamo and the Tower of the Americas, the Lone Star State’s second-largest city delivers a vacation with something for everyone—and an affordable one at that.
Flight prices to San Antonio have dropped around 15% since 2017, according to Kayak data, making it a great time to visit and take in the sights. The 300-year-old city, developed by Spanish missionaries in the early 1700s, has the largest concentration of Spanish colonial missions on the continent, according to tourism board Visit San Antonio. The Battle of the Alamo is so woven into the city’s fabric that a trip to San Antonio isn’t complete without a stop at the historic mission, where you can visit the grounds free of charge.
But there’s more to do than view architecture and battle sites. Designated a Unesco Creative City of Gastronomy in 2017, San Antonio is making headway as a foodie destination with more than 3,000 restaurants—many of which can be found along the San Antonio River Walk or elsewhere in the city’s bustling downtown. When you’re dining out, you’re in luck: A three-course meal costs an average of $35, according to Numbeo—one of the most affordable nights out on our destination list.