Do more for less in these six spots around the world by following our money-saving recommendations.
The Argentine peso hit a record low in June, giving Americans serious bang for their buck across this Andean hot spot. You can be even more wallet-friendly by avoiding high-season traffic between September and November or March and June. While you’re there, check out free tango performances in San Telmo, Buenos Aires’s oldest barrio (neighborhood), or practice your haggling skills at Plaza Dorrego, the site of a 40-year-old open-air flea market open Sundays between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The impressive Museum of the City (219/223 Defense; 011-54-4331-9855; buenosaires.gob.ar, site in Spanish) and the National Fine Arts Museum (1473 Ave. del Libertador; 011-52-5288-9900) are both free.
Though this Scandinavian nation has never scored too well on the affordability scale, its fluctuating krona means that the dollar may have more power than it would have had three years ago. You can explore Stockholm on one of six English-language excursions with Free Tour Stockholm. For a hearty bite of the city’s flourishing—and reasonable—food-truck scene, download StreetKäk, a free app that tracks local food trucks. More than a dozen museums dropped entry fees in 2016, and the Moderna Museet (2 Exercisplan; 011-46-08-5205-3500; admission, $19*) now hosts regular free hours, although special exhibitions may require an entry fee. And attractions such as the National Library (26 Humelgårdsgatan; 011-46-0-10-709-30) remain free.
Several American airline carriers increased across-the-border routes last year in response to a 2015 aviation agreement between America and Mexico. The result: more airfare options and possible lower prices. Ensenada, on Baja’s northwest coast (a 40-minute flight from San Diego), brims with free cultural and natural perks. You can take in entrancing paintings, sculptures and multimedia creations at Centro Estatal de los Artes (Calz de los Presidentes; 011-52-686-553-6955), a state-run art center, or follow the crowds to the cliffs of La Bufadora, the world’s second-largest marine geyser, which sprays visitors with millions of droplets of sea water—under optimal conditions, it shoots a jet of water more than 60 feet into the sky. If you’re headed to Cancún, opt for the off-season (late August to November) and skip pricey seaside bars in favor of one of the countless OXXOs, the city’s ubiquitous convenience stores.
This year Canada turns 150 years old and Montreal turns 375, making it a great time to go north. To celebrate, the country’s parks and historic sites are waiving admission for 2017. When in Vancouver, don’t miss a hike up Grouse Grind, a 1.8-mile trail often called Mother Nature’s StairMaster, for an inexpensive way to view the glass-and-steel skyline. You can check out the world-class arts scene at Vancouver Art Gallery (750 Hornby St.; 604-662-4700; admission, $24), currently home to a Monet exhibition. On Tuesday evenings it’s pay-what-you-will. In Montreal, those in the know sample half-price drinks and appetizers during cinq à sept, a daily citywide happy hour between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
American travelers to Britain can enjoy greater discounts on hotels and transportation compared with two or three years ago. In London, use an Oyster Card for public transportation; the electronic smartcard is less than half the price of single cash tickets. If you’re up for a 2.5-hour tour steered by knowledgeable college grads, Sandemans covers must-see spots such as Hyde Park Corner, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben—completely free of charge. For costless entertainment, claim a seat at The Scoop (More London, Bermondsey; 011-44-0-20-7403-4866), an amphitheater on the banks of the Thames whose recent productions include a three-part retelling of The Odyssey.
Tourism spiked here by 26 percent last year. Because of its unique geographical shape, Chile is a country of staggering distances, so don’t shy away from overnight bus trips (all buses have air-conditioning, and some have USB ports), which can save both time and money. In Santiago, there are few better deals than the $3 round-trip funicular ride, which will deposit you at the city’s largest green space, Cerro San Cristóbal (parquemet.cl, site in Spanish), arguably its most scenic summit. At restaurants, save by ordering the menu ejecutivo, an economical fixed-price lunch that includes a starter, main, dessert and drink.
- *Prices have been converted to U.S. dollars.
- NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
- Published: September 2017