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International Travel Priced Like Domestic Trips

By (view all posts by ShoppinHolly)
at 7:55AM Tuesday October 26, 2010
under Money Saving Tips

Every country has its own treasures, but several factors can prohibit international travel. Crossing the border can be a hassle with passport and visa issues, long flights that cause jet lag and then of course, there's price. The following destinations are closer than Europe and Asia, but the travel cost is similar to a typical U.S. beach vacation. Plus, excursions and meals in these areas are affordable, and the exchange rate won't eat up all your travel budget:
(Note: These prices were collected using Kayak deals, Orbitz promotion codes, and JetBlue coupons for the dates of November 11 - 17.)

Dominican Republic 

Round Trip Flight: $342 from NYC (New York City), $530 from L.A. (Los Angeles)

Top-rated hotel: $82 per night at 4-star Dominican Fiesta Hotel & Casino

Package: Jet Blue offering 3-night Punta Cana package flight + hotel for $309 per person.

This island isn't just gorgeous--it's also historically significant as the first permanent European settlement in the New World founded in 1496 by Bartholemew Columbus; yes, that would be the brother of Christopher. The local cuisine, numerous beautiful beaches, and lively merengue music make this a destination tourists love.

Puerto Rico

Round Trip Flight: $247 from NYC, $564 from L.A.

Top-rated hotel: $118 per night at 3-star Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino $118 near San Juan town center

Package: Jet Blue offering 3 nights hotel + flight from NYC for $329 per person

While technically an unincorporated U.S. territory, Puerto Rico feels much more like Spain than the States. Rich with history, these beautiful islands are also lush with tropical flora, fruit trees, and crops. Where else can you find thriving city centers, white sandy beaches, and a tropical rainforest all in the span of 3,500 square miles? It makes travel there even easier that the U.S. dollar is the form of currency. Both English and Spanish are official languages with Spanish as the primary language used.

Niagara Falls, Canada

Round Trip Flight to Buffalo, NY: $224 from Washington DC, $316 from L.A.

Top-rated Hotel: $79 per night Crowne Plaza Hotel Niagara Falls--Falls View

This trip allows U.S. travelers to take a domestic flight rather than an international one. Fly into Buffalo, New York, and then drive through an easy border crossing to the falls. This destination is romantic, fun, not too pricey and, for this reason, full of tourists year-round.

The above trips are priced like a typical US beach vacation at an average hotel. What about travelers who prefer more upscale hotels and restaurants? The international vacations below will be priced much like an upscale domestic getaway.

Ecuador

Round Trip Flight: $528 from NYC,$584 from L.A.

Top-rated hotel: $96 per night Star Sebastian Hotel near city center

Here, tour Colonial Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the oldest cities throughout North and South America. And definitely visit Galopagos Islands--a pristine national park and biological marine reserve spectacular enough to warrant a visit by Charles Darwin himself, after whom one of the islands is named. See fur seals, frigates, Marine iguanas, Swallow-tailed Gulls, sea lions, whales, marine turtles, and various species of tropical fish swimming in the blue ocean water along the shores.

Turks and Caicos Islands, Caribbean

Round Trip Flight: $555 from Miami, $760 from NYC, $820 from L.A.

Top-rated hotel: $112 at The Royal West Indies Resort

Package: 5 nights from $545 per person through Jet Blue from Boston or NYC less a code for $100 off, so $445 per person.

These stunning West Indies islands are British territory where the official language is English. Local culture is colorful and unique with traits like ripsaw music (which employs a common handsaw as the primary instrument) and the laid back pace of the islands. The cool blue waters and white sand entice Hollywood stars including Bruce Willis who own homes there. Plus, it's a popular spot for romance weddings:  Eva Longoria and Tony Parker spent their honeymoon there in 2007 while Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner wed there in 2005.

Curacao Island, Caribbean

Round Trip Flight: $520 from NYC, $329 from Miami

Top-rated hotel: $128 a night at Lodge Kura Hulanda and Beach Club 

This is a stunning southern Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela. This Dutch-owned paradise is one of the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), which tend to fall outside of the hurricane belt. Residents on this island enjoy a standard of living that is one of the highest in all of the Caribbean region, evidenced by the modern shops and colorful European style buildings that line the city centers and shores.

There are few getaways as fun as a trip across the border--no matter which direction you go! And even better when the price is right. Share your travel treasures with us. What are some international destinations you find low-priced? What's the best deal you've gotten on an international flight or hotel?