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Early February Destination? (Without spending a fortune!)

Starting to plan a 2-3 week trip for early 2015. Leaving from LA to somewhere outside the U.S. I don't want to spend a fortune on flights (Australia/NewZealand is probably out) and want to go someplace not too cold. I'll probably stay in hostels or guesthouses with maybe a splurge weekend at a nicer hotel.  I'm a pretty seasoned backpacker and like adventure! Where should I go??? Inspire me!

12 Answers

top answer by
Travis from Kamloops

I would think that Central or South America would fit what you're looking for perfectly - should be pretty good weather and nice and close so you can avoid the jetlag of a long flight. The only tough part is choosing where, which really just depends on what you're into. I really only have experience in Central America, so I can only give recommendations there. 

If you're into wildlife and nature, you could head to Costa Rica or Panama. If you're into temples and diving/snorkeling you could head to Belize. If you're into culture and history you could head to Guatemala or Nicaragua. There are tons of options, and your 2-3 week timeframe is perfect to see the best of one or two of these countries. 

If you want specific recommendations in these countries just ask!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Costa Rica (attraction)
  2. Panama (attraction)
  3. Belize (country)
  4. Guatemala (attraction)
  5. Nicaragua (attraction)
9 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Will from On The Road

I highly recommend flying into Singapore and then out of Hong Kong. Your three weeks will be well spent journeying up from Singapore through Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and China. Very inexpensive, warm temperatures, and truly majestic experiences to be had! (I did this exact trip in February 2009)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Singapore (country)
  2. Hong Kong (city)
  3. Malaysia (attraction)
  4. Thailand (attraction)
  5. Laos (attraction)
  6. Vietnam (attraction)
  7. China (country)
8 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Billy from Chicago

I would consider Cusco. I think you should be able to find a decent price on flight from Cali and the exchange rate isn't bad from what I remember. The city was much more interesting than I anticipated and would have stayed longer had I not locked in my departing flight. It's a smaller and quaint city/town but also has some nice night life. I stayed at hostel called La Bohemia. Also, there was a coffee shop that I really liked pretty close by called The Meeting Place. 

PLUS, Machu Picchu is "close" by!! I hiked up to what is called the Sun Gate. I stayed where this picture was taken for at LEAST an hour. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cusco (attraction)
  2. Machu Picchu (attraction)
5 thankscomments (6)

answered by
Andy from San Francisco

I highly recommend the Philippines

I just took a quick look and it looks like you can get a flight to Manila from LA for less than $800. I know that the flight is not cheap, but once you get there, everything else will be dirt cheap and you'll have an awesome time and still stay under budget. 

I even wrote an answer on Quora about a 2 week itinerary in the Philippines. Check it out!

Let me know if you want additional details. I'm actually heading to the Philippines next week for a 2 week trip. I'm super excited!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Philippines (attraction)
  2. Manila (attraction)
4 thanks

answered by
Tracy from Singapore

Travel to South East Asia may be a good option. There are many places to discover around South East Asia, such Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand or Vietnam. :) The cost in each places is vary.

One week is enough to explore Singapore. Another two weeks, you can go for either Malaysia and Indonesia – one week each or just one and spend longer time there.

As I am more familiar with Indonesia, I will tell you what you can expect by going to Indonesia.

In Java island itself, shall checkout few places worth to explore like:

1. Surabaya for Mount Bromo

2. Banyuwangi for  Ijen the blue fire phenomenon (The lake crater is beautiful. :)

3. Yogyakarta for Borobudur Temple

Due to the earth quake and eruption from surrounding volcanoes, only left one Buddha statue which still have complete face features.

4. Flores Island - where you can see the Komodo dragon. It is also a great spot for diving.

5. Jakarta Capital Region - you may want to check out megapolitan city life in Indonesia

6. Ujung Kulon National Park - Safari where we can see almost extinct Rhino with one horn

7. Bali for diving, snorkeling, water sport, hiking. There are few diving/snorkeling spots with great underwater ecosystem. :)

I just randomly stating here without order. It can be completed within 10 days (road trip). For your ideas. :)

I compile some itineraries from my past trips to Indonesia, you may check it out here.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Singapore (country)
  2. Malaysia (attraction)
  3. Indonesia (attraction)
  4. Thailand (attraction)
  5. Vietnam (attraction)
  6. Surabaya (city)
  7. Mount Bromo (attraction)
  8. Banyuwangi (city)
  9. Ijen (attraction)
  10. Yogyakarta (city)
  11. Borobudur Temple (attraction)
  12. Flores Island (city)
  13. Jakarta Capital Region (attraction)
  14. Ujung Kulon National Park (attraction)
  15. Bali (island)
3 thanks

answered first by
Justin from Phoenix

I'd vote for Curitiba. It's a very cool city with a temperate climate. You could use it as a base to get further into Brazil's interior ... but you'll also enjoy just checking out the city itself. I only spent a week there - mostly working, though. But I wasn't expecting to find green space, an active microbrew scene, great food and a lot of buzz. It's also kind of overlooked by travelers. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Curitiba (city)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Eugeny from Astana

There are reasonable prices to HKG (under 700 USD). Then use and wait for sale from HKG to Clark/Manila/Cebu (I got two tickets for 40 USD in January). They have sale everyday, just change destinations every 3-4 days, so wait for HKG, and you'll get very good price. 

2 thanks

answered by
Ryan from Canmore

Colombia! The foods awesome, the weather is awesome, the people are super friendly, and there is lots to do and see. Also, if your flying from the states flights will be inexpensive and short. The three big cities are Bogota, Cartegena, and Medellin, and I think they are all worth a visit on a three week trip, depending on what you want to do. You could fly into Cartagena, spend some time there enjoying the Caribbean weather and beaches. Fly to Medellin on the cheap domestic airline Viva Colombia, bus down to Salento in the coffee region for some hiking, then make your way to Bogota and fly home from there.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Medellin (city)
  2. Salento (attraction)
  3. Bogota (city)
  4. Cartagena (city)
2 thanks

answered by
Louise from Los Angeles

I'd have to agree with Travis' answer - Central America and South America are perfectly feasible timewise and budgetwise. In Nicaragua you can crash on a hammock for $5 USD a can find places to stay everywhere for as low as $30 a night and they're SO cool.

You'll meet AMAZING down to earth people and see the greenest greenery you have ever seen. Le sigh. Wish I was coming with!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Central America (attraction)
  2. South America (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Eka from Jakarta Capital Region

Maybe you can try to Ujung Kulon National Park / Peucang Island in indonesia. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ujung Kulon National Park (attraction)
  2. Peucang Island (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Vit from Marrakech

Hi Emily,

I don't know how much cost flight from L.A. to Morocco but I suggest you this country. Once you arrive travelling is pretty cheap especially if you stay in hostels (7-11 USD) food is tasty and cheap. Uniqueness of Morocco is you can sky in the mountains and few days later you can ride a camel in the Sahara dunes. There is big CouchSurfing community and you can find even good Airbnbs. You can also go to Emirates.

Enjoy your journey !!!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Morocco (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Romy from Tel Aviv

I'malso looking for something like that, but I only have a week and I'll be leaving from NYC..

1 thankscomments (3)

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