Recently someone shared my favorite online discussion forum, “We live in Florida and would like to take a five-to-seven-day trip this May, but since I don’t get to travel much, I’m having a hard time coming up with some interesting places to go on our $3000 budget.”
“I would love an out-of-country experience, but my budget may limit that. Still ok with somewhere in the U.S., but I would like it to be way different than Florida.”
The internet responded to deliver this list of suggested destinations.
“Forget France. It’s going to be out of your budget. Portugal, however, might be in your budget. Look at TAP Air Portugal airlines into Lisbon from Miami. You can find lower-priced hotels if you get out of Lisbon’s main tourist area. Also, ensure they are on a public transit line so you can get around cheaply,” someone suggested.
Portugal is a place where many expats are heading. What is the appeal of Portugal? You have California weather with budget-friendly prices. Accommodations are cheap, and wine and delicious food flow at great prices. The friendliness of the people, the weather, and fantastic food allow so many people to see this country and will enable them to travel more by saving.
Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, is a fascinating city with a mixture of modern and old and plenty of things to do – good and cheap food, good weather, several cultural and historical landmarks to visit, and fantastic beaches to relax in. So if you feel like everyone you know is traveling to Lisbon or Portugal, you’re not alone!
Paris ranked as one of the Safest Places to Visit in 2023.
Several people disagreed with the first person’s assessment of France. “I disagree. If you travel before the summer months, use public transportation, rent rooms instead of hotels, and among other cost-saving tips, you can go to France,” one argued.
“Flights are 1500€ for both. You can rent a cheap place for 500-800€ a week depending on when and where you go. Food is expensive, but you can cook or eat baguettes daily—a rental car for a couple of days, maybe, and rental bikes. I also think it is doable,” another agreed.
“We loved the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris. They had a military parade, fireworks, and parties all over. Many people were just dancing in the streets,” said Karen Kelly, Founder of Seasonal Cravings. “Les Deux Magots is the most fun coffee shop, a perfect Parisian Cafe. I think we went every day!”
“Le Loyo is an African, Cajun, and Creole restaurant located in Montmartre. The fritter Samoussas & Braised Chicken were terrific, said Jason Butler, Founder of Money Chronicles.
3. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico, a non-incorporated United States (US) territory, is perfect for Americans looking for a tropical escape without a passport. The delightful climate and stunning scenery make Puerto Rico a great candidate for weddings, honeymoons, and family trips.
“Puerto Rico,” another suggested. “Flights from Florida are cheap. It has an almost European feel in the capital, with a rainforest out east and many fantastic areas to explore.”
“It is also convenient for Americans: easy to rent a car, they have a great road system, they use AT&T, and a lot of people speak English. So you could easily book the flights, a couple of Airbnbs, rent a car, and explore the island for $1500/person.”
4. European Trip
“My wife and I spent $5000 total on two weeks in Europe without being frugal,” another shared. “We stayed in lovely Airbnb locations, did all the tourist stuff, ate a lot of food, etc. So with your budget, you could do a week there.”
“Spend time looking at the cost of everything and making a rough itinerary for a specific trip. What will one week in Paris, London, Madrid, and more look like on your budget? Don’t discount a trip like that yet!”
Spain’s Andalusia region is an increasingly popular destination for travelers from around the world. Located in the southern part of the country, this vibrant province is known for its Moorish-inspired architecture and sunny beaches, along with incredible tapas and sherry wine.
5. Take a Cruise
One user asked, “Have you considered a cruise? Lots of cruises out of Florida that will easily fit that price point and leave you some for excursions, which can be as active as you want them to be.”
“You can get a seven-day for like $1,800 (less if you go with an inside cabin). It allows you to go a few places and see which one you want to visit for longer later.”
One of the benefits of going on a cruise from the United States is that you can potentially drive to the port or quickly fly there from within the country. Don’t forget to check if you need a passport if your cruise heads to other ports outside the USA.
US cruise ports are plentiful! There are dozens of ports over the coastal United States, from California and Florida to Maryland, New York, and South Carolina.
Five of the most popular ones that are all near major airports and highways are the cruise ports of:
- Seattle, Washington
- San Diego, California
- Los Angeles, California
- Miami, Florida
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
“I would recommend Mexico! Your budget will go very far there. It also allows you to have a relaxing beach vacation or explore famous sites like Chichen Itza,’ one stated.
“I second Mexico,” another said. “Super cheap flights in and out of Cancun. Don’t rent a car there; get a local tour guide once you get there if you want to explore outside the well-beaten tourist traps. Airbnb is very cheap, especially if you are ok being off the beach.”
Or consider, the charming city of Merida is the cultured capital of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. It is characterized by its opulent, grand colonial mansions and ornate, colorful houses.
During the hennequin boom and the days of the haciendas, Merida was one of the richest cities in the world. Today, it makes an excellent base for a wider exploration of the Yucatan region. The city is a great choice if you want to escape the tourist crowds that flock to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and the beach towns of Quintana Roo.
7. Costa Rica
One person shared, “My husband and I spent eight days in Costa Rica this past September for $2500, so you could make your budget work! We did La Fortuna, Monteverde, Paquera and Tango Mar.”
“La Fortuna had a volcano, waterfalls, and hot springs. We did a coffee/chocolate night tour and saw many animals. Monteverde was chilly, a nice break from the heat and humidity, and had the rainforest.”
“We did zip lining and the hanging bridges at Selvetura and made a detour at Rio Celeste on our way from La Fortuna. Paquera isn’t very touristy. We only stopped there for the bioluminescent kayaking. And Tango Mar was a beach resort-beautiful and relaxing!”
With international travel restrictions loosening, travelers are increasingly booking international trips. A recent analysis of online searches shows that Costa Rica is the third most searched international destination by Americans.
One user confessed, “I’d save Europe for a more extended trip. How about Medellín? There are plenty of cheap, short, non-stop flights from South Florida, which will be significantly different than Florida. I haven’t been, but it’s definitely on my list of places to visit.” Others agreed it’s a beautiful city in Columbia.
“Spain is also doable depending on how much you get your flight for and if you are willing to cook some of your own meals throughout the trip,” another suggested. Others agreed to dine out a few times but to cook the rest of the trip.
If you’re looking for a reliably warm European destination, look no further than Costa Del Sol, Spain. In the province of Malaga, this region is home to 103 towns and villages and boasts more than 320 days of sun a year, one of the highest in Europe.
With a diverse range of cities, landscapes, food, traditions, in-land villages, and even mountains, there’s a wide range of things to do in Costa Del Sol Spain besides soaking up the sun on their 100 miles of beaches.
10. The Carolina States in The U.S.
A less popular suggestion was the Carolinas. One user asked, “Does that include airfare? That alone could eat half or more of your budget, leaving very little for the rest. How about South or North Carolina? They are close to Florida and have incredible scenery and mountains.”
No wonder Myrtle Beach has long been a go-to destination for generations of Americans. More than half of the country can drive to its 60 miles of beaches and other world-renowned attractions.
Another one of those family vacation spots that is also a golfing mecca, Myrtle Beach, has more than 90 golf courses and 50 mini-golf courses so that you can play a round no matter your age and skill level.
The Carolina Core region, consisting of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, & High Point, is at the center of 4 state highways. Explore each city’s distinct personalities and a long list of outdoor activities. Families can enjoy Wet-n-Wild Water Park, obstacle course & ziplining at Safari Nation, The North Carolina Zoo, All a Flutter Butterfly Farm, and Piedmont Environmental Center.
It’s not hard to see why it’s ranked one of the best places in the state for outdoor activities. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, and horseback riding options in the region’s expansive state parks, local public parks, and outdoor recreation facilities.
Where Will You Go First?
We hope you enjoyed this Reddit picks list of travel ideas for a couple on a $3,000 budget, and it inspires your last-minute 2022 travel plans or 2023 vacations.