2016 is in full swing and January is the perfect time to stop dreaming and start planning those bucket-list getaways. Luxury travel destinations, however, may not always be financially obtainable. If you're like me, you choose destinations based how good business was last year and what you think you can afford for the year ahead. We have searched high and low to map out 10 luxury travel destinations that are affordable right now. Even a budget traveler should consider crossing a few of these destinations off their travel bucket list in 2016.
Because of the Ebola epidemic that hit in 2014 in Western Africa, the entire continent has seen a major decline in tourism. This has lead to major deals for places like Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Mozambique. While many luxury safari camps can cost upwards of $1,000+ per person, in 2016 we are seeing these camps offering free nights and discounts of as much as 50% off. If a luxury safari is on your bucket list, 2016 is the year to cross it off.
Where to Stay - Azura Retreats Quilalea Private Island
This little corner of America’s Southwest is an affordable destination for active adventurers and foodie travelers. The warm, dry weather makes outdoor adventures a possibility all year long. You can hike alpine forests, soak in one of the many free hot springs and nosh on authentic Southwestern cuisine.
Where to Stay - Los Poblanos Inn and Organic Farm
Because its currency is weak against the U.S. dollar, Australia is more affordable now than it has been in years. The western coast offers experiences that include visits to the Australian winelands, treks through the Kimberley outback and cosmopolitan outings in the coastal city of Perth.
Where to Stay - Berkeley River Lodge, Kimberly
Iceland is getting quite a bit of well-deserved buzz in 2016. With its glaciers, waterfalls, hot springs, volcanoes, and a chance to see the Northern Lights, Iceland is an adventure traveler's dream. Icelandair and WOW Air make it easy for travelers heading to Europe to have a free stopover in Iceland to experience a truly unforgettable destination. In 2016, Iceland should be added to any European itinerary.
Where to Stay - The Ion Hotel
Following America's easing of travel restrictions, there has been lots of buzz about Cuba. While travelers will begin to flock to this Caribbean island, the prices should stay affordable for 2016. More and more direct flights from the US have been added in the last couple months, and even more will be added in early 2016.
Where to Stay - Saratoga Hotel
This small island off the coast of Cancun is being called the “New Tulum.” Hip and chic boutique hotels, crystal blue waters, and tasty cuisine is what you can expect on Isla Holbox. While Tulum's prices continue to soar, uncrowded Isla Holbox remains reasonable. You can head there for a more affordable Mexican Riviera holiday.
Where to Stay - Casa Sandra
For foodies and wine lovers looking to head to Europe, Portugal is one of Europe’s coolest coastal countries. It "has it all" but is still quite affordable. Cool luxury boutique accommodations continue to pop up throughout the country making this a great place to experience luxury without a high price tag.
Where to stay - Casas Na Areia
Croatia - Istria
While most tourists will head to the big cities of Dubrovnik and Split, Istria is in our choice for best coastal Croatian destination. Istria is on the Northern Peninsula of Croatia and is sometimes described as being “what Tuscany used to be.” With its quaint coastal towns, like Rovinj, and its vineyards and hilltowns, there is so much to do and see you could spend weeks here without once thinking about heading south to Dubrovnik. In the fall, truffle season is in full swing, and you can find truffles just about everywhere for a fraction of what you would pay in Italy. For wine lovers, Istria produces Malvasia, a buttery white wine that can only be found in Croatia.
Where to Stay - A private villa
While Costa Rica continues to grow in popularity and big chain hotels continue to pop up, Nicaragua offers the same rain forests, volcanoes and great surf but with cheaper food and more affordable cool accommodations.
Where to Stay - The Little Corn Hotel
Visit the temples and baths in Istanbul, soar in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia, go wine tasting in the Thrace Region, and stroll the cobblestone streets of Alacati. Turkey is one of the world's most romantic destinations.
Where to stay - Cappadocia Cave Suites
Have you planned a 2016 luxury vacation on budget? We want to hear about it. Share your plans in the comments below!