Posted by Sean Thompson

Affordable Fall Destinations

Hot soups, warm sweaters and hand-warmers signal fall is upon us. The kids are back in school and we’re dragged, somewhat unwillingly, into winter routines. Not so fast! Fall is a great time to travel. It means fewer crowds, idyllic weather and better deals. Let’s explore some affordable locations for a fall adventure.

Spain
Spain offers low accommodation costs and you can still get tapas and a drink for $5. Savour rich, regional cuisine while sampling some of the finest wines in the world. Take in a festival or two. Spaniards are masters of exuberance and their fiestas don’t disappoint. Spain’s cities are vibrant, thriving with the arts, museums and nightlife. Enjoy spectacular beaches and beautiful mountain ranges. Search out smaller villages after you’ve experienced urban centres. Living is easy and affordable.

Portugal
Lisbon is one of the cheaper European cities to fly into. It’s a charming mixture of ‘now and then’ much like San Francisco. It’s a great walking city and public transportation is inexpensive. Portugal offers rich culture, fabulous beaches, jaw-dropping vistas and a warm welcome to tourists. Tap your feet to traditional folk music while sampling Portugal’s national dish, salted cod, accompanied by a shot of the country’s popular cherry brandy. It’s a great country to cycle in. Hotel prices are a deal compared to other countries in western Europe.

The Philippines
You can stay in a hostel here for $10 and rent a guest house for $25. Airfare is reasonable from the west coast. The country is made up of 7107 islands, of which 2000 are inhabited. Explore its biodiversity, white sandy beaches, mountains, rainforests and many cultural attractions. Diving is very popular in the Philippines. Food is affordable, tasty and reflects a mixture of influences. You’ll love the laid-back, hospitable, family-centred dining experiences.

Cuba
This Caribbean island has become a popular destination for Canadians. All-inclusive packages are affordable, as are the hotels and food in Havana itself. If you’ve got schedule flexibility, you can find super last-minute deals. The glory of the past, and the economic struggle of the last 55 years, is apparent in Cuba, presenting the tourist with interesting contradictions to absorb. Cuba is changing quickly with improved U.S. relations. If you’re an old car buff, Havana is for you! There are plenty of them on the roads. Sip a mojito at Hemingway’s favourite bar, dance to live street salsa, browse open air markets and art galleries. Soak up the sun. Talk to the locals to gain an understanding of life under communist rule.

Crete
It’s the island hopping in Greece that can blow a budget. Just get yourself to Crete for an affordable, off-season holiday. You can spend far less on a comfortable hotel room in Crete than a dorm in Paris, Amsterdam or Rome. It’s Greece’s largest island, known for its sandy beaches, contrasting landscapes and fiercely protected culture and customs. If you’re a foodie, you’ll love Crete. Relish the locally produced meat, cheese, olive oil and wine. You can visit busy urban centres and peaceful mountain villages.  Make sure to visit the ancient Minoan ruins and the remnants of Turkish and Roman aqueducts.