Six places you never thought you could afford

Despite the economy, it is still possible to find deals to even the most far-flung destinations. And thanks to new flight routes, the strong U.S. dollar, and unbelievable travel sales, six of these exotic locations have just become a lot more affordable.

The following deals are listed without taxes and fees, unless otherwise noted. While the most affordable departure city has been listed, others are available at varying prices.


These days you can explore the outback without denting your piggy bank. In fact, with several airlines offering flight sales, it's just as cheap to fly to Australia as it is to Europe. Plus, the exchange rate is even better than the euro once you land. For instance, a pint of beer will cost $7 in the U.K., but only $3 in Australia.

With the launch of Australia's new international airline V Australia, flights between Los Angeles and Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane start at $530 round-trip through December 15; other airlines have started to offer competitive prices as well.

Qantas has two different ways to save. The airline offers flights starting at just $530 round-trip from Los Angeles to Sydney, Brisbane, or Melbourne for travel between August 2 and September 28 or between October 25 and December 6. You must book by April 21. If you're planning on traipsing about the country, the AirPass may be more your speed. The pass starts at $999, and includes round-trip airfare from the U.S., plus three domestic flights in Australia. Prices are based on seasonality and travel zones. You must book by April 30. Both sales have already been extended, so keep an eye out to see if this trend continues.

Not to be outdone, United has also offered an Australia sale, with flights starting at $778 round-trip traveling from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Sydney or Melbourne before September 21. No booking date has been released.

Qantas Vacations also makes it easy to save once you land by offering one-week walkabouts in Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane starting at $699 for six-night's lodging, airport transfers, and some tours.

To help plan your trip after you land, visit Tourism Australia's website.


Some may see Tahiti as an unattainable paradise, only to be visited in one's dreams, but it's time to wake up and smell the savings. The pristine white beaches and crystal clear waters are within your reach, as several new sales have put Tahiti and the surrounding islands back on the budget-savvy map.

Air Tahiti Nui is offering two deals that will appeal to leisure and family travelers. The first is a Tahiti Quick Getaway sale on flights, which lists fares starting at $989 round-trip departing from Los Angeles to Papeete before May 31 or between November 1 and December 10. You must book by May 15. Flights in May typically cost about $1,300, so this is a considerable savings overall.

Next, you can take your little ones to the islands for free. The family vacation package starts at $3,396 per family, and includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles for two adults and two kids, five nights' stay at a resort, fuel surcharges, airport transfers, daily breakfast, and free meals for kids. The deal is available only on certain dates during the summer. In comparison, a trip for a family of four to Orlando in July, with round-trip tickets from Los Angeles and fivenights' hotel would cost about $2,012 without tickets to theme parks (about $902 extra for the entire family) or meals.

For further tips on how to save, what to do, and where to stay, visit Tahiti's tourism website.


If you thought you could never afford a trip to the Holy Land, think again. It's now possible to wander among ancient structures, hike along the Dead Sea, sleep in a Bedouin tent, or dive in the Bay of Eilat (the northernmost point in the world for coral reefs), without going broke.

Israel's international airline, El Al is offering spring flights starting at $803 from New York City to Tel Aviv for departures before June 19 and summer flights starting at $1,199 from New York City to Tel Aviv for travel between June 20 and August 19.

If you'd prefer to skip the headache of planning your own trip, you can book a nine-day guided tour through Friendly Planet starting at $2,199, which includes airfare, accommodations, some meals, all transfers and in-country transportation, a professional tour guide, fuel surcharges, and entrance fees. The tour begins in Tel Aviv and stops in Caesarea, Tiberias, Megiddo, Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, Masada, and Jerusalem. Book by May 27 for extra savings. When you consider airfare alone will cost you close to half of this price, especially after you factor in taxes and fees, you are more than likely spending less than $200 per night.

For further information when planning your trip, visit the Israel Ministry of Tourism's website.


Bangkok has been on the radar as one of the more affordable Asian destinations, and the prices just continue to drop. Not only can you tour the Thai capital for less, but with an exchange rate heavily favoring the U.S. dollar, you can also eat and shop on the cheap as well. Now is the time to enjoy the tranquility of Bangkok as you find peace with how little you're spending.

United is offering a flight and hotel special starting at $989 from West Coast cities for travel between August 17 and October 25. The deal includes round-trip airfare, three-night hotel stay, and fuel surcharges. You must book by May 31. An individual round-trip flight in June from San Francisco will cost about $1,006, so this sale is well worth it. has a similar offer with the Bangkok at its Best vacation package, which starts at $1,069 per person and includes round-trip airfare, five nights' hotel stay, daily breakfast, and fuel surcharges. Travel, however, is only valid from April 22 through May 28 (other varying prices are available for different dates), and you must book by May 7.

If you want to see the city and the surrounding areas, the real deal is with Gate1 Travel, where you can book a 12 Day Affordable Thailand package starting at $1,439 per person. The offer includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles; fuel surcharges; 10 nights' first-class accommodations in Bangkok, Phitsanulok, Chiang Rai, and Chiang Mai; entrance fees; tours; daily breakfast and one dinner; all transfers; motor coach transportation; and an English-speaking tour manager.

For further information on what to do or see, visit Thailand's tourism website.


You may not initially equate Ireland with expensive travel, but summer flights across the Pond have cost a pretty farthing in previous years. This year, however, you can find low fares that will have you dancing a jig in no time. Not to mention that the euro is the lowest it has been in ages, meaning automatic savings when converting currencies.

Aer Lingus has summer flights starting at $488 per person round-trip from New York City. This sale expires on April 20, but Aer Lingus has extended or offered similar sales recently, so keep an eye out for future deals with this airline. Look for sales through different carriers, such as American Airlines, which has discounts on flights to Dublin from Chicago for travel through June 25. Book by May 1. is making it even more affordable to see the Emerald Isle when you book their Fly and Drive vacation package by April 29. The package starts at $389 per person for travel from April 30 through May 15 and includes round-trip airfare from New York City to Dublin, a seven-day car rental, plus local tax and airfare surcharges, and unlimited mileage. You'll have to book hotels separately, but you can always save a bit extra by staying in a B&B. Most cost less than a hotel, offer a glimpse into the local culture, and come with a full breakfast.

Here are our editors' top picks for ways to save in Ireland after you land.


With so few months of warm and sunny weather, it's not surprising that Alaska becomes a prime spot for tourists during the summer. Typically, however, the rise in visitors also means a rise in prices, but this year as the state celebrates the 50th anniversary of its statehood, you can find a slew of deals to make your visit worthwhile.

For instance, you can save more than 60% on an Alaskan cruise, such as Norwegian's seven-night Alaska and Sawyer Glacier cruise starting at $349 per person for an interior room during the summer months. The cruise departs from Vancouver, with stops in Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway. This is only one of the many options of cruises that will allow you to see the natural beauty of the Klondike state from the comfort of a floating vessel. Holland America is also honoring the state's 50th by offering 50% off of cruises and cruise tours, such as the 12-day Discovery Cruise and Denali Adventure cruise tour, which starts at $1,229 per person for travel in July and August.

Other specials and discounts, including 50% off second-night stays at resorts and hotels, free train rides for those turning 50 this year, and discounts on hotel rates, can be found on the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau 50 Anniversary page. You can also discover what events are taking place and 50 different ways to explore the state while making your plans.

The Alaska Tourism Board has also released statewide specials, including discounts on packages and tours (two-for-one Princess Rail tickets in May and June), hotels, transportation, and activities. Plus, you will also find a plethora of anniversary deals here as well.

Read previous columns features expert travel advice and unbiased coverage of travel deals.