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7 Exotic Destinations for a Winter Escape

Most travel authorities tend to agree that peak season for globe-trotters is April through September. This makes the more underrated winter months ideal for wanderlusters on a budget and looking for a winter escape. With discounted airlines, hotels and local attractions, this time of year lends itself to spontaneous trips––sans the high expense.

According to recent findings, 28% of surveyed Americans rank travel as the most desired item on their holiday wish-lists for 2016. So, indulge your tourist side this winter and book a getaway to these affordable and unforgettable destinations around the world.

Belmopan, Belize

The capital of this Caribbean paradise is less trendy than resort hubs San Ignacio and Belize City, but the diverse wildlife, energetic marketplace, Mayan ruins, and jungle or cave excursions make Belmopan an appealing option for your next tropical escape. In addition, the island hospitality gives that intimate feel you might not experience in the more populated vacation spots around Belize.

Quebec City, Canada

The baroque ambiance of this northern provincial town charms visitors with its cobblestone squares, historic landmarks and sidewalk cafes reminiscent of Paris or Bordeaux. If you want francophone culture without crossing an ocean, Quebec City will transport you into 17th-century New France.

Make sure to plan your trip between January 27–February 12 to partake in the annual Winter Carnival.

Sofia, Bulgaria

The snow-capped mountains and picturesque scenery of this Balkan retreat offer world-class skiing, hiking, ice skating and other seasonal pastimes for a fraction of the cost you’d expect in those swankier European cities. If you visit during Christmas or New Years, you can also enjoy Sofia’s regional customs koleduvane and survakane, in which the locals spread festive wishes of health and wealth.

Boracay, Philippines

The turquoise waters and pristine beaches of this Asian enclave are more secluded than other South Pacific destinations like Phuket or Bali, making Boracay superb for de-stressing after the holidays. Cool down with fresh-squeezed juice from a beachside fruit vendor, then wander the sugar-sand footpaths that serve as the preferred form of commute. You’ll consider yourself a native in no time.

Cartagena, Colombia

The year-round equatorial climate of this hidden gem on the South American coast beckons sunbathers looking to trade the winter chill for dynamic urban nightlife, authentic empanadas and unmatched ocean views.

Marvel at Cartagena’s colonial architecture, dine al fresco while watching the sunset, then meander through plazas crowded with the vivacious cartagenos who call this port city home.

Hanoi, Vietnam

The mystique of this locale that was once off-limits to the West is now making up for lost time by seducing travelers with its cultural and artistic scene which combines rich history with modern revitalization.

If a noisy metropolis is just your speed, Hanoi delivers that sensory excitement for an economical price. In fact, the 2016 Backpacker Index rates this destination among the cheapest on earth.

Lisbon, Portugal

The brick-rimmed alleyways, Bohemian street artists and intoxicating sea breeze of this Mediterranean hotspot earn Lisbon a prominent place on your vacation itinerary. Not to be overshadowed by its neighbor Spain, this Portuguese capital boasts mild weather, top-shelf wine and sincere community vibes. For extra incentive, Portugal is also the most affordable nation in Western Europe.

If an international adventure is on your radar this holiday season, don’t assume the price tag will break your budget. StudentUniverse has cheap flights and hotel discounts all over the world. Unleash that inner jet-setter and reward yourself with the gift of memories, experiences and new horizons you’ll never forget!