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2017 Audi S5 Coupe review

What is it?
The Audi S5: for now at least, the top-of-the-range medium-hot performance version of the new A5 coupé. With two doors, four seats, a longways engine, permanent centre-diff-based ‘quattro’ four-wheel drive and a torquey turbocharged engine, it’s a car made to a time-honoured mechanical template for Audi. Though it’s powered by six cylinders rather than five-, this is the closest thing to a classic 1980s ‘Ur-Quattro’ that the firm currently makes. And given that people who are in the market for a fast coupé like this are probably just the right age to remember the 1980s with particular fondness, that may not turn out to be an entirely irrelevant factor for wannabe S5 owners.
For this new version, Audi has moved from supercharged V6- to turbocharged V6 power and, having already made weight-savings in the A5’s basic construction, has also made gains on both power and torque. The car doesn’t quite come into the niche in an outstanding position on outright potency, though, thanks to the recent introduction of the bigger-hitting Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupé. And yet it certainly has enough grunt to get your attention: 349bhp, 369lb ft and the potential for 0-62mph in less than 5.0sec.

The S5 also gets its own suspension specification and tune, riding lower still than even sports-sprung versions of the standard A5. But here, Audi’s trick is to mix in greater comfort, refinement and civility than you might get in a more powerful RS model, as well as plenty of dynamic purpose.

Impressive technical and material specification, and advanced onboard technology, are also very much part of the modern Audi S-car’s appeal – the S5 getting LED headlights, heated nappa leather sports seats and an ‘MMI Navigation Plus’ infotainment system as standard.

But just like most of their fellow Audi buyers, S5 customers should still expect to find budget to spend a few thousand pounds on options. Adaptively damped suspension, active-ratio ‘dynamic’ steering, a mechanically locking sport rear differential and Audi’s impressive ‘Virtual Cockpit’ digital instruments are all cost options – and having all four will inflate the cost of what’s already a relatively expensive car by more than £3000.



What's it like?

Fast but not feral; precise-handling but settled- and secure-feeling; gently sonorous at times, but a long way from demonstratively noisy. Just a little bit exciting, then – but never so much as to risk being even vaguely wearing.
The car’s interior sets the tone for the driving experience to come. Ahead of the B-pillar, there’s little that sets the A5’s cabin apart from that of the A4 saloon, but you’re definitely aware of the relatively low driving position of the S5. The car’s mix of cabin materials is a bit subdued, but the quality with which they’re deployed and finished is nothing short of spectacular.

The car’s driver’s seat itself, meanwhile, was a little bit narrow for this tester but softly upholstered, nicely supportive and comfortable. Behind it, occupant space is respectable – but don’t expect to carry fully grown adults very far in the back. A C-Class Coupé is probably marginally more accommodating. But then again, if you’re buying the coupé version of this car rather than the forthcoming ‘Sportback’, you probably won’t find that too much of an imposition.

The V6 engine announces itself quite clearly and tunefully around town, but fades into the background as your speeds increase – only raising its voice after a downshift and a short charge at the redline. Even in a lower-order performance machine, you’d say it could afford to be a bit more effusive.

There’s a hint of softness to the accelerator pedal response, no doubt caused by the combination of turbocharged engine and torque converter automatic gearbox – but it only delays the S5 for an instant. Torque builds much more quickly than from the last S5’s supercharged motor, and the new car feels brisk straight from the off.

You’ll need to lock the car in manual mode to get a clear sense of the engine’s full combustive range; leave it in ‘D’ and the eight-speed gearbox has the same liking for a downshift with almost every change in accelerator pedal position that seems to characterise so many modern cars. But locked in third gear, you’ll feel the engine knuckle down quickly from low revs. It goes slightly flat through the upper-middle part of the tacho’s scale, only to find its breath again over the last 1000rpm of the rev range.

So the motor’s a worthwhile improvement over what it replaces, but it doesn’t always combine brilliantly with the eight-speed gearbox. Overall, we suspect petrolheads will still narrowly prefer either Mercedes-AMG’s new 3.0-litre turbo V6 or BMW’s longer-serving 3.0-litre straight six.

The S5’s chassis, meanwhile, seems to do 90% of what most owners will desire of it very proficiently – but it isn’t a natural entertainer. Even with Audi’s optional sport rear differential in train, our test car wasn’t particularly poised or engaging when cornering – though always grippy, precise and sure-footed.

The car rides quite well: better, in our limited test experience thus far, than any sports-sprung standard A5. It’s fairly firm, but deals with uneven surfaces well enough to make it a credible grand tourer. At least, it does with Audi’s optional adaptive dampers fitted. Those dampers have ‘Comfort, ‘Auto’ and ‘Dynamic’ modes, and we preferred the last of those three modes on the road because it improves close body control without making the eventual compromise harsh or fidgeting. The ride feels under-damped in ‘comfort’, simply allowing the car’s body to heave rather than creating much useful additional compliance.

Audi’s dynamic steering continues to be an obstacle to your enjoyment of the driving experience, because it makes the amount of weight and control feedback through the wheel vary widely. By increasing the steering’s directness at low speeds, it can also make the S5 tricky to place at junctions and around roundabouts. At A-road and motorway speeds it works well enough, though – and before actively avoiding it, we’d strongly advise you try the car’s standard passive steering setup.



Should I buy one?

There’s a convincing case here for anyone looking for a usable, stylish, brisk and unimposing luxury coupé with a smidgeon of sporting edge – but those looking for real involvement from their daily driver should shop elsewhere.
Though its ride shows evidence of a skilled finish, the S5’s handling isn’t as natural, as balanced or as compelling as rivals, some of which show that greater excitement can be delivered with little or no compromise to comfort or all-weather stability.

In future, Audi probably needs to do more with its S-branded cars to successfully counter the threat posed by Mercedes’ more engaging ’43-badged lower-order saloons and coupés. If it can, this performance niche’s newly competitive forces might yet bring us a worthy successor to the original ‘80s Quattro – but they haven't done so for now.



Audi S5 Coupé

On sale now; Price £47,000;
Engine V6, 2995cc, turbocharged petrol;
Power 349bhp;
Torque 369lb ft;
Gearbox 8-spd automatic;
Kerbweight 1615kg; 0-62mph 4.7sec;
Top speed 155mph;
Economy 38.2mpg;
CO2/tax band 170g/km, 31%
Rivals: Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupé, BMW 440i M Sport Coupé




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Why young people don\'t buy cars and apartments anymore


Nowadays, the traditional measure of success — owning an apartment and/or a car — is out of date. An increasing number of young people around the world don’t want to buy them.
Research shows that the so-called millennial generation, who are now 30-35 years old, rarely buy houses and even more rarely — cars. In fact, they don’t buy super expensive things at all. In the USA, people under the age of 35 are called ’the generation of renters.


Why does this happen?
Some sociologists say it’s because modern youngsters suffer from financial crises. That’s why people are afraid of ’serious’ loans. But it’s not the most important reason. The thing is, the current generation of young people differs from their parents’ generation. They have other values. The youth today has reconsidered the concept of success, which means: - Successful people don’t buy property — they rent. If you want to be considered successful, invest in experiences: travel, do extreme sports, build startups. The point is that people now don’t want prosperity and stability — all they want is flexible schedules and financial and geographical independence.


People have no interest in material things
Why own a car if you can take a cab? It’s almost a personal car with a driver. And it’s not more expensive than having your own car. Why buy a house in a beautiful place and go there for vacation, if you can find a place to stay through Airbnb in any corner of the planet? You don’t have to overpay for rent or buy a property in a country you love. The same thing with real estate in your hometown:
You don’t know how long you’ll stay where you live. You can take on a mortgage for 40 years, or you can accept the fact that you’ll spend your whole life in a rented place. You’ll probably change your job in the next few years. If you rent, nothing prevents you from moving closer to the office. According to Forbes, modern young people change jobs every three years on average.


The concept of ownership is no longer relevant
James Hamblin, The Atlantic’s columnist, explains the phenomenon as follows: ’Over the past decade, psychologists carried out a great amount of research proving that, in terms of happiness and a sense of well-being, spending money on new experiences is much more profitable than buying new things. It brings more joy.’


Experiences help us make friends
Social interaction between people is crucial to whether they feel happy or not. Talking to others and having a lot of friends makes you a happier person. But would people rather hear about how you spent a year in a wild country or about how many apartments you’ve already bought?
Here’s an extract from Hamblin’s article: ’Turns out people don’t like hearing about other people’s possessions very much, but they do like hearing about that time you saw Vampire Weekend.’
Remember that even a bad experience can become a good story. Material things cannot.


Buying things makes us worry
There’s one more thing. The things we own, especially if they’re very expensive, make us worry about their condition. If you buy a car, you’ll flinch every time someone’s alarm sounds outside. If you buy a house and fill it with expensive items, you’ll be afraid of being robbed. Not to mention the fact that a car can be scratched or break down, and a super expensive TV might break after a year of usage. But no one can ever take away the experiences you have.


Every purchase will go down in price over time
Our parents weren’t able to travel as often as we do. There wasn’t the possibility to have so much fun. They didn’t have so many opportunities to start a new business. Therefore, they invested in houses and cars, and we don’t want to do that. After all, every purchase, if it’s not a house or an apartment, will depreciate over time. And if we think about how quickly real estate depreciates during a crisis, then everything becomes even more obvious.
Experience is the only thing that matters: it won’t go down in price, and no one can steal it.

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The 30 Cheapest Places To Travel In 2017, if your new year resolution is to Travel
Time to start packing your bags: 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for budget travel. The dollar is enjoying historic highs — meaning your money goes much further in many destinations around the globe — and according to an American Express Global Business Travel report, airfares are expected to fall in 2017.



1. Mazatlan, Mexico

Why: The current exchange rate ($1 = 20.69 Mexican pesos) makes Mexico one of the most affordable destinations.
For the frugal traveler who wants to enjoy more culture than they might in the Riviera Maya, my top pick is Mazatlan. As the shrimp capital of Mexico and a foodie paradise, Mazatlan is teeming with awesome eateries and fresh, interesting dishes. Hotels (including all-inclusive properties) are extremely inexpensive and authentic since most aren't part of the huge chains. El Cid Marina has awesome pools that are perfect for families, great food and huge rooms. (Rates are as low as $100 for a family of four.)
You can also enjoy superb dining at a top-notch restaurant like Casa 46 for less than half what you'd pay in the United States.
Side note: Sinaloa (the state where Mazatlan resides) grows the bulk of produce in Mexico, so Mazatlan produce is unbelievably cheap as a result. You see this reflected in top restaurants all the way down to street markets.



2. South Africa



Why: In South Africa, the exchange rate is in our favor, but so is the fact that it's a developed tourist destination with a solid infrastructure. In spending a month in Cape Town earlier this year and relying on Uber to get me to and from meetings, activities and lunches, I averaged under $20 in transportation per day — a major win.
Hotels are cheaper, too: Take a standard room at Taj Hotels & Resorts in New York, and you are out about $786 a night, whereas in Cape Town, a room at a similar luxury property costs $266. Remember, South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, so seasons are the opposite: Consider going in low season (our summer) when hotels and safari lodges are even less expensive.
Airbnb and private villa rentals are also reliable and cheap options in the major cities. Travelers should also consider booking domestic airfare in advance for the greatest cost savings, since flights on South African Airways can sell out quickly.
The best value of all is the wine: Travelers can order a glass of one of the best locally produced varietals for less than the cost of a can of soda. For more information on travel in South Africa, watch "Michaela's Map: First Timers' Guide to Southern Africa."



3. San Juan, Puerto Rico


Why: The best way to get a deal in the Caribbean is to travel during the low season (end of April through mid-December) to destinations that have direct and frequent fights from your gateway; plenty of hotel inventory; and economies that aren't euro-based.
Puerto Rico fits the bill, and I'm a big fan of San Juan, which I think is seriously underrated as an easy and affordable getaway, especially for visitors from the East Coast of the U.S. Old San Juan oozes charm, and if you stay within the old city's two-square-mile radius you won't need a car rental to access great restaurants, sightseeing and shopping.
U.S. citizens can save themselves the cost of a passport since it's not required to visit, and since the U.S. dollar is the legal tender, there's no money lost on currency exchange. Hotel Casa Blanca and Villa Herencia are two of my favorite high-style/low-cost boutique hotels.



4. Chile



Why: Europe is on everyone's list of value-added trips this year and for good reason — the exchange rate is more favorable for American travelers than it has been in years. But the destinations I most dream about and long to return to are in South America, a destination that has long given travelers great value for money.
In Chile, I love Santiago for its vibrant food and wine scene — think tucked-away wine bars, delicious tapas and hip hotels in a beautifully chaotic city. For a lesser-known and truly special corner of the world, I love the small lakeside town of Puerto Varas. It is part of the lakes district in Chile and the northern start of Patagonia.
It is easy (and cheap!) to rent a car and explore this area. There is a surprising German heritage, so you'll see signs for "kuchen" (cake). With Puerto Varas as a hub, you can explore great places within a two-hour drive from the city: going to the top of a volcano, exploring waterfalls, finding the best cakes and food.
This area sees very few American visitors and everything is CHEAP. It's one of those places I almost want to keep to myself, but it's so special that I can't.



5. Crete

Why: With the U.S. dollar strong against the euro right now and the economic crisis in Greece keeping prices lower than other parts of Europe, it’s the perfect time to visit the beautiful island of Crete. Crete is a foodie dream come true.
A place where farm-to-table isn’t a new fad, it’s a way of life. The people here often live to be well over 100 years old so they must be doing something right! With truly stunning natural beauty (like Balos beach) and locals that welcome tourists with open arms, you are bound to have the trip of a lifetime and save a few dollars at the same time.



6. Morocco


Why: For many, Morocco is the ultimate dream trip, and yet cost tends to keep most from visiting. But what you might not know is that it's one of the most affordable African countries, particularly when comparing flight costs. R
eaching Marrakech from cities such as Lisbon, Madrid and Paris may only set you back $40 to $100 roundtrip with many budget airlines. And this past Black Friday, flights from New York were a mere $400 roundtrip.
Food is by far my main reason for visiting as often as I do, and typical meals can range from $2.50 to $15 for two, which includes appetizers, entree and unlimited mint tea. For vegetarians and vegans, the country is especially great, as veggies are cheaper than meat and fresh fruit smoothies are barely $1.
Souvenir shopping can get a bit intense when you realize leather goods such as wallets, handbags and weekenders run from $5 to $60. (A shopaholics dream!) When it comes to accommodations there's something to fit everyone's budget, my favorite being Riad Yasmine (only $80-$160 per night).
For those looking for Moroccan luxury while still on a budget, my go-to is Riad Kheirredine, which will have you living like a queen without breaking the bank and even provides a cell phone during your stay to ensure guest safety.



7. Belize



Why: Modern conveniences and history collide in Belize. It's a perfect place to take a budget romantic vacation. Many of the four-star hotels offer extras, like bicycle rentals, included in their low rates, as well as Belize's excellent local wines.
Some affordable resorts to check out are George Hardie's Las Vegas Hotel in Corozal (Northern Belize) and the oceanside Royal Caribbean Resort in San Pedro along Ambergris Caye. Both can be booked for under $100 per night.
Meals are also crazy cheap, but delicious. Two can eat at an upscale restaurant for less than $30, and much less at an everyday venue.



8. Vietnam



Why: Affordable upscale accommodations, cheap and remarkably healthy food and beautiful sights make Vietnam a standout among budget-friendly South Asian destinations.
Eat your way through historic Hanoi, kayak in the emerald waters of Halong Bay or relax in ancient Hoi An and the nearby beaches. There are clean, safe accommodations to fit everyone's wallet. In Hanoi, my favorite is the Tirant Hotel, near the old town, where you can bag a room for less than $70 a night.
Don't miss the Hanoi street food tour: For just $20 per person, a guide will lead you on foot or by scooter through backstreets, markets and footpaths.
You will eat like the locals and learn the names and ingredients in the dishes so you can order them again. And be sure to take the time to sip a bowl of steaming "pho" noodle soup in restaurants, push carts and food stalls, where a street meal and a beer can cost the same as a caramel macchiato at Starbucks.



9. Costa Rica


Why: Costa Rica is the one of the most biodiverse places on the planet and to be able to see this on a shoestring is an incredible opportunity.
There's a ton of national parks to explore, for instance, that only cost a few dollars to enter. Once there, you can then enjoy free self-guided walks that won't cost you a cent, but will deliver some great encounters with amazing wildlife like tapirs, monkeys, sloths and macaws.
Manuel Antonio and Corcovado National Parks are two of the best. Public transport is also super cheap in Costa Rica, with buses generally less than $10, even for an eight-hour ride. This makes traveling between destinations in this compact country very affordable and means you can see a lot in a short amount of time.
In addition, budget accommodation in Costa Rica — even at some of the best surf beaches — can be as little as $6 per person. And a "plato tipico" (local dish) can be enjoyed anywhere for as little as $2-3.



10. Portugal



Why: Portugal is a pocket of affordable travel in contrast to the rest of Western Europe, especially if you get off the highways and take the back roads (where you can also avoid tolls).
A bottle of delicious port and a plate of the day with a glass of wine can be found for around €5 each. Nowhere else in the world can its "California Highway 1 meets Tuscany" landscapes be enjoyed on such a budget, especially now that the dollar is strong against the euro.



11. Ecuador



Why: Although Ecuador is not quite as inexpensive as Peru to the south, it’s an easy and affordable destination to travel to, especially if you stay a bit off the beaten path. It’s a short cheap flight from Florida with budget airlines like jetBlue and TAME, and accommodation is pretty cheap.
Shop at your local market and you can get a week’s worth of groceries for $10. And Ecuador has lots of variety; from surf beach towns like Montanita, to the volcanic Banos with famed hot springs at the gateway to the Amazon basin, to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cuenca in the high Andes, there’s a lot to see. The bus systems are good and domestic flights cheap and plentiful. F
ind a free accommodation option like house-sitting or volunteering, and your trip can be even cheaper.



12. Barcelona



Why: Barcelona is ranked right up there with cities like Paris and London as one of the most popular European cities, but it is by far the most affordable. This is thanks to low-cost tapas restaurants, endless free attractions and affordable things to do.
Have a meal of tapas and wine at El Xampanyet for around €10-15. Soak up the rays on the beach at Barceloneta. Get lost in the La Boqueria Market.
And take the tram up to Tibidabo (only €5) for sweeping panoramic views of the city; it's also where you can experience a vintage amusement park and a gorgeous cathedral.



13. Where: Guatemala


Why: Often bypassed in favor of nearby Costa Rica, Guatemala is unique unto itself in Central America. And because it's a bit more "off the path" in the region, it's also easy on the budget and a nice place to splurge.
The villas and hotels rimming Lake Atitlán have all the beauty you could want for a small fraction of the price you'd pay in Europe or elsewhere. From the lake, you can then delve into the country's unique culture by visiting the indigenous markets and villages in the Guatemalan highlands.
Lush Atitlan is a gorgeous, affordable place to stay in San Marcos La Laguna, the prettiest and most culturally interesting of Lake Atitlan's villages.


14. Bonaire & Curaçao


Why: In the deep Southern Caribbean, Bonaire and Curaçao are always out there on the edge of everyone's Caribbean consciousness. Both are known for scuba diving, but also for other water sports, hiking and amazing secluded beaches.
Vacation villas that let you live like a local are plentiful and affordable on both islands, but chain hotels like the Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino are an option on Curaçao (great if you're using points).
Bonaire gets its very first chain hotel at the end of 2016 when a Marriott Courtyard opens.



15. Las Vegas



Why: If you can avoid the slots, there are lots of free things to do in Vegas: The Flamingo's flamingo habitat, the fountains and conservatory at the Bellagio and the outdoor movies at the Container Park are just a few.
You can also find many places for cheap eats if you are willing to get off The Strip to do so. Check out the nearby Crown and Anchor, which serves up delicious British favorites, and Ninja Teriyaki Sushi 2 Go for fresh-made amazing sushi rolls in a no-frills setting.



16. Cambodia



Why: Sadly, the average income in Cambodia is about $950 per year. What does this mean for international travelers? Your international airfare might be expensive, but once you are in Cambodia, you can live well. Tuks tuks (a combo bike/taxi) and food cost just pennies. Even international hotel chains and luxury river boats down the Mekong are more affordable than other Asian destinations.
Before visiting, I suggest doing your homework to support luxury companies like the Shinta Mani Resort, whose foundation plays a large role in its community, building water wells, schools and farms and providing the best healthcare in the country to its employees. Culturally conscious companies like Aqua Expeditions sustainably introduce their guests to the communities along the Mekong River, including the floating markets and the farmers in the rice fields; the company can even arrange a conversation with a local Buddhist monk to discuss the significance of his journey from childhood to monkhood.




17. Bali



Why: If you're looking into an exotic long-haul trip, Bali offers a ton of high quality experiences for a great value. You can easily stay in a private villa overlooking stunning rice paddies with a private pool for around $50 per night. (Airbnb is a great way to go).
However, if you want to splurge a bit but not go overboard, a stay at a high-end luxury resort will still cost you less than a stay at a luxury resort, for example, in Maui. Not to mention, spa and transportation costs are quite low relative to other exotic locales, as well as the amazing and healthy food options that end up being a fraction of the cost elsewhere in the world.



18. Greece



Why: The weakened euro has made any trip to Europe more affordable, but this is especially true in Greece. The struggling economy craves tourist dollars and makes it known with affordable pricing on everything from hotels to food.
In Athens, you can book a three- or four-star hotel for well under $100, like 360 Degrees, a nice and modern hotel with a huge breakfast buffet included and an awesome location directly on Monastiraki Square.
Throughout the countryside, prices may be even better. Best of all, you can sit down to an amazing Greek meal with drinks (Mythos or Ouzo?), appetizers (Saganaki, anyone?) and entrees of your choosing for less than half what you'd pay in the States. Heck, you can pick up Souvlaki or a gyro for $1-$2. Souvenirs are insanely cheap, too.



19. Albania

Why: This forgotten corner of Europe is a wonderfully off-the-beaten-track budget destination in an otherwise very touristy and expensive continent.
With fantastic beaches along its coastline, including the fishing port of Saranda, Albania gives visitors the chance to enjoy the Mediterranean waters for a fraction of the usual price. Accommodation starts from as little as $5 per person and fishing trips or boat rides to the nearby islands are similarly well priced.
There's also some fascinating historical sites across Albania that are either free to enter or cost only $2-$5. From the moutainous medieval town of Gjirokastër to the Roman ruins at Butrint, this is a diverse and very different side of Europe, which is definitely worth visiting before the crowds do.



20. San Luis Potosí, México


Picture a perfect class III white water rafting experience through a limestone canyon of turquoise waters, a visit to a living garden of eden, complete with art sculptures, hidden pools, butterflies and waterfalls, a hike to the largest known cave shaft in the world, which you can rappel into, and a series of waterfalls for cliff jumping.
Top this all off with a plate of homemade tacos and a local beer for $2, and you've got yourself a piece of adventure paradise on a budget.
Still very much under the radar to anyone outside of Mexico, San Luis Potosí could be compared to Costa Rica in terms of adventure and Cambodia in terms of affordability. Since Election Day, the dollar has been especially strong in Mexico, offering an even better excuse to travel south of the border.



21. Quebec City, Canada

Why: Take advantage of the weak Canadian dollar and travel north for a 25% discount on prices.
Enjoy a slice of Old Europe without the jet lag or the cost of a transatlantic flight. Indulge in some of the best French food outside France — steak-frites, oysters and pastries at a bargain price. Stroll and shop in the narrow cobblestone streets of the picturesque Old Town and enjoy night parades and ice canoe races during the colorful Winter Festival in January and February.



22. Buenos Aires



Why: One of the world's most intoxicating cities, Buenos Aires has only grown in popularity, but it's still relatively cheap compared to European and Asian capital cities. There are many green parks, French-inspired architecture, late-night dancing, custom leather shops and fantastic food.
Taxis are relatively cheap (around $5-8 a ride), but you should also walk for miles in all of the distinct neighborhoods, like Palermo (try Salon Canning, a super casual milonga, or dance hall, after midnight). Must-try cheap eat in Buenos Aires: anything dulce de leche. It is everywhere — inside crepes, drizzled over grilled bananas and in gelato.
Tip: Bring a ton of American cash and you'll get better deals in many places. For example, I bought my custom leather jacket at a shop called Uru Recoleta (close to the famous Recoleta Cemetery) and was able to buy it for much less than using my credit card because I brought American dollars.
On Sundays, the place to be is the San Telmo market for browsing leather, antiques, watches, jewelry and more.



23. Haiti

Why: While Haiti still remains under the radar as a travel destination, many people have been flocking to the vibrant country, and I can see why: The island provides all the stunning Caribbean characteristics without the high costs. Outside of holiday seasons and the later part of the summer, flights from New York range from $300 to $500, and even cheaper when flying from cities in Florida.
The real gem is how cheap the hotels are, with many starting at $50 to $150 per night including airport transfers. Even the newest Marriott Port-au-Prince will only set you back $130 to under $200 a night for larger rooms.
One of my favorites is Wahoo Bay Beach, which has epic mountain and ocean views from its stunning pool and rooms. You can take small boat tours around the area for a couple of dollars per person. Lobster, conch and crab can be caught right from the water and prepared for you without costing more than $10.





24. Santa Catalina Island, California

Why: Santa Catalina Island is one of my new favorite places. It is way more than a weekend SoCal jaunt. Hotels are quaint and average under the $200 per night mark. The Avalon Hotel is a charming choice. It’s right in the center of town, making it an easy walk to almost any activity. There is plenty to do, like kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, ziplining, hiking or just beach sitting.
The Catalina Island Museum is a must-visit stop to get the full story of the island's fascinating history, including its Hollywood connection. Food and shopping choices are extensive.
And you don’t need a rental car. Getting to the island is easy: Catalina Express Ferry whisks you to there from three different ports, Long Beach, Dana Point and San Pedro. I prefer Long Beach because flights there are often lower priced than neighboring LAX.



25. Indonesia



Why: With 17,000 islands, you are bound to find the ideal paradise to suit your travel and budget in Indonesia.
There are stunning untouched beaches that offer world-class snorkelling and scuba diving in Raja Ampat, fascinating Unesco World Heritage Sites dating back to the 9th century in Yogyakarta and — everywhere you turn — the friendliest locals. In Raja Ampat, we found a homestay that included breakfast, lunch and dinner — plus it was right on the beach for around $29 USD per person per night. For more, see Food Fun Travel's "Bali Food Guide."



26. Bulgaria

Why: The entire Balkans region is an excellent option for budget travel, and if you haven't been before, I recommend starting with Bulgaria.
From wine country to snowy peaks to the Black Sea coast, it's an adventure playground that every budget can afford. In Bulgaria's wine country you can get a full winery tour with multiple tastings plus bread and cheese for about $5 (check out Villa Melnik winery), take a hike through Bulgaria's famous sandstone pyramids and then sleep in a beautiful authentic style hotel like Zlaten Rozhen with breakfast included for about $30.



27. Cusco, Peru



Why: Most people who pass through Cusco are en route to the very popular Machu Picchu, but you should make sure to spend a few days, maybe even a few weeks in this colorful city. Not only is the city absolutely stunning and oozing with culture, most accommodations range from $20 to $100 a night. Peruvian textiles are extremely affordable and the vibrant colors are stunning.
Eating out in Cusco can be extremely cheap, if you know where to eat. Restaurants are quite affordable compared to most American and European restaurants, but street food here is the real winner. I'm personally addicted to ceviche and can't find it cheaper than $15 for a small portion in the states, but in Cusco's San Pedro Market you can find ceviche plus Peruvian fried rice for only $3.
On my last trip, I had steak and ceviche nearly every day and never spent more than $15 for two including a drink and soup.



28. Georgia
Why: Meagen Collins: This ancient European country is starting to grab the attention of travelers from all over the world. Georgia has so much to offer — beautiful scenery, unique culture and tradition everywhere you look, and the food will leave you drooling for more.
Add to that the fact this country lays claim to being the birthplace of wine (winemaking here goes back 8,000 years) and you have the ultimate new travel destination.
In Georgia, you can get a full meal plus copious amounts of wine for two people in a higher end restaurant, with live entertainment and still spend less than $30 — total. But get there fast: Word is getting around about this little gem and it won’t be tourist-free for long.



29. Mozambique



Why: This country is one of Africa's best budget travel destinations, with some extremely affordable accommodation situated along white sand beaches and next to an azure ocean. (Check out Villa Sands or Terraço das Quitandas.)
There's great scuba diving, too, and you can easily feel like a millionaire here for nothing! For more ideas, see Big World Small Pocket's "17 Incredible Budget Travel Destinations Still On My List (That Should Be On Yours Too!)."



30. Dallas, Texas



Why: Dallas is often overlooked, but packed with fun, food and great places to stay at prices far below the national average. (The city was voted the most affordable destination in the U.S. last year by Priceline and continues to remain a great value.) Downtown buzzes with excitement and culture, and the nearby Design District is exploding with eclectic shopping for home décor.
The high-rise Omni Dallas has rooms with stunning floor-to-ceiling views of the city starting at just under $200, putting you in the center of the action. With a rental car, you can fully explore everything the city has to offer. Look at fringe cities like Grapevine and Plano for the charm of small towns of yesteryear with main street shops and eateries.
The Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine is convenient to DFW airport and offers full-out luxury at rates around the $200 mark.

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