If You’re Traveling From the Northeast
A hot new destination, it’s close to the Northeastern United States and affordable compared to the rest of Western Europe. Iceland Air has a great stopover option which allows travelers to explore Iceland en route to (or on their way back from) more than 20 destinations served by the airline, for the cost of a single flight. For example: Depart Boston on September 9, hang out in Reykjavik for a few days, and then head on to London on the 12th, all for $439 including taxes and fees. Despite the economic crisis that nearly turned Iceland into a barter economy just a few years ago, hotel prices still haven’t dropped to what we’d call “cheap” levels. But deals are certainly available. At the Hótel Frón, rooms in September start at $139 per night.
Portugal is a great destination for lovers of food, culture, and history. With a ton of castles, museums, music venues, delicious eateries, and kind, English-speaking locals (all just a few hours from the U.S.), it’s the perfect long weekend. One way to score an inexpensive flight is to fly from the East Coast to a major hub like London or Madrid, which tends to be less expensive than flying to Portugal directly. From there, try out a low-cost European airline like EasyJet for the short intra-European leg. In October, you can get from London to Lisbon for as little as 14 British pounds each way. (To play with the numbers, try out Skyscanner.)
In Lisbon, the Hotel Vip Executive Diplomático is located in a quiet neighborhood near the incredible Castelo Sao Jorge and Parque Eduardo VII. For about $120 per night in October, you get a sizable room with a plentiful breakfast. For just $10 more, upgrade to luxury at the Tiara Park Atlantic Hotel, just a few blocks away. A short drive north from Lisbon along the coast leads to Porto, a beautiful city in the Douro River Valley that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, prices dip even lower than in the capital. October rates at the centrally-located, four-star Mercure Porto Centro start at just $72.