What's keeping you from embarking on that big dream vacation kicking around in the back of your imagination? If money is your answer, we have the solution. Big-ticket trips can be had for unexpected cut-rate prices—that is, if you know where to go. We discovered 10 thrilling destinations where fantastic bucket-list getaways can be bought for run-of-the-mill rates, from cruises through the wilds of Alaska to urban explorations of historic European cities.
The Galapagos is a land of fearless sea lions, game-changing scientific theories, and expensive vacation packages. The destination is best explored by boat or guided tour, and one of the easiest ways to plan a trip is by booking a one-price-covers-all vacation package—but these aren't cheap. Published prices for Galapagos packages on Intrepid Travel, a small-group adventure-tour operator, start at $2,020 for five nights, no airfare included—and we won't even get into what luxury packages cost.
So consider the alternative: Plan your own journey. SmarterTravel editor Caroline Morse did just that and saved a bundle. Morse details her incredibly affordable Galapagos trip: "We ended up walking into one of the numerous tour operators that line the streets on the main island and booking ourselves onto a four-day, three-island tour with everything (meals, accommodations, tours, snorkeling, boat transfers, etc.) included for just $200 per person." Putting on your travel-agent hat and conducting a bit of research could really pay off when planning a Galapagos getaway.