Whether you dream of strolling the colorful streets of some of Europe’s finest cities or basking in the dazzling beauty of Moroccan gardens, planning an unforgettable trip abroad doesn’t have to come at an unimaginable cost.
This year, Money scoured the globe to bring you the 25 best places to travel internationally. Our recommendations include some affordable, all-time favorites — and plenty of lesser-known and up-and-coming destinations that beg to be explored.
The pandemic, of course, upended most folks’ international travel plans, but in 2023, the travel industry is on a fierce rebound. Passenger traffic so far this year is consistently exceeding 2019, which was a major year for travel, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
“This is the first quarter since 2019 that everything’s been open as far as travel restrictions,” says Maurice Smith, travel advisor and founder of the boutique travel agency Eugene Toriko.
Newly-reopened countries and pent-up demand from travelers are two major drivers behind the surge in wanderlust, Smith says, noting that folks are especially looking to go abroad to bucket-list destinations. He’s also noticed a big uptick in solo- and family-travel abroad.
“I have never seen a year like this one,” says Gwen Kozlowski, president of the travel agency Exeter International. “It all opened up once the requirement for testing to return to the U.S. was lifted. Now it’s just a flood — a literal flood — of [travel] requests.”
As interest in traveling abroad swells, Money’s Best in Travel list is bigger than ever, now featuring 50 destinations — 25 international and 25 domestic places — that provide an unforgettable experience at an unbeatable value.
Money’s 2023 list looks much different from previous ones. In addition to more destinations, we’ve introduced five different categories to cater to various types of travelers: Bucket List, Family Friendly, Off Season, Luxury on a Budget and Solo Travel.
One major aspect that’s unchanged, though, is our focus on affordability and value. To stay true to that aim, we consulted a panel of travel experts to ask where your dollars would go furthest and received hundreds of travel recommendations from Money readers, who we know prioritize value.
At the top of our recommendations this year is Lisbon, Portugal, an award-winning city hailed as an affordable European getaway. Lisbon charms visitors with vistas of cobble-stoned streets and candy-colored casas while serving up world-renowned fare from over a dozen Michelin-rated restaurants. (Read more about why you should visit Lisbon here.)
With 25 places ranging from the mountainous metropolis of Medellin, Colombia, to the coastal city of Kochi, India, our list is sure to include at least one destination that sparks your sense of wonder.
Here’s where we think you should travel abroad this year.
The 25 best places to travel abroad
The following places are listed in alphabetical order. Instead of ranking destinations this year, Money placed our picks into five discrete categories. For each destination, we included a cost estimate, which factors in airfare as well as local prices for room and board. (See our full Best Places to Travel 2023 methodology for more on how we chose the places and calculated the cost.)
- Kochi, India
- Medellin, Colombia
- Nagano, Japan
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Tbilisi, Georgia
- Utrecht, Netherlands
Luxury on a Budget
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Marrakech, Morocco
- Mexico City, Mexico
- Monteverde, Costa Rica
- Quito, Ecuador
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Barcelona, Spain
- Lima, Peru
- Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
- Montreal, Canada
- Reykjavik, Iceland