Why You Should Go: Fez is considered the cultural hub of Morocco; its less commercial and less expensive than Marrakech.
Where to Sleep: Traditional houses with gardens called riads are tucked behind doors in the medina, the medieval walled city. Dar El Hana (doubles from $96) has three bedrooms. Dar Seffarine (doubles from $102) has handmade copper sinks and views of the medina.
Where to Eat: Most restaurants offer hearty Moroccan tagines, slow-cooked dishes served over couscous. Sit on the terrace overlooking the medina at La Kasbah (meals are less than $10) or go to Dar Roumana, a hotel run by a chef (a three-course dinner costs about $32).
Why You Should Go: Budapest is less expensive and less explored than other Western European capitals. It has the beautiful Buda Castle, and the Danube River divides the city, Buda from Pest.
Where to Sleep: The Opera House and museums are in Central Pest, but staying in Buda can be cheaper. The Hotel Astra (doubles from $144) is in central Buda, not far from downtown Pest. Vadvirág Panzió (doubles from $81) is a steal in nearby Buda Hills, but youll have to take a bus into town.
Where to Eat: Have coffee and a pastry at the popular Ruszwurm. For dinner, try the traditional Tabani Terasz. Its below scenic Castle Hill and is still largely undiscovered by tourists, says Ben Curtis, a leader for Rick Steves tour company, Europe Through the Back Door. Pork belly with paprika-seasoned potatoes is about $14.
Why You Should Go: Argentinas economic free fall of 2002 has passed, but deals still abound. And you cant beat all the art, food, and music.
Where to Sleep: At the Five Cool Rooms hotel (doubles from $105), in the trendy Palermo Soho neighborhood, there are actually 17 rooms, and you can eat breakfast on the rooftop terrace. Or try the Art Hotel (doubles from $105), which is in Barrio Norte, on the edge of the grand Recoleta neighborhood, where Eva Perón is buried.
Where to Eat: You can get a high-quality steak for less than $10 at almost any parrilla. Try Campo Bravo, in the Las Cañitas section of Palermo, but prepare to wait. Since locals dont eat dinner until after 9 p.m., have a snack under the trees at La Biela café, in Recoleta.
Why You Should Go: You dont hear much about Peru aside from Machu Picchu, but Cusco is a wonderful place to hang out, says Tim Leffel, the author of "The Worlds Cheapest Destinations." Built by the Incas, it has Spanish-colonial buildings, sits high in the Andes Mountains, and welcomes the U.S. dollar.
Where to Sleep: Cusco is a stopping point for backpackers (read: plenty of cheap lodging). The Niños Hotel (doubles from $40), which uses its profits to feed and care for poor children in Cusco, is within walking distance of the central Plaza de Armas.
Where to Eat: Pachapapa, located across from the church of San Blas, is one of many quintas, casual restaurants that line the streets. There you can get the citys specialty, guinea pig. Or go upscale at the Inka Grill.
Why You Should Go: Overall, Southeast Asia is relatively inexpensive, as there are fewer developed areas and the dollar has remained strong. The people in Thailand are so friendly, and there is a better tourist infrastructure than in, say, Vietnam, says Sandy Ferguson, who grew up in Thailand and is a travel agent with Asia Desk in Duluth, Georgia. Koh Lanta is a beach alternative to Phuket, which is full of tourists.
Where to Sleep: Baan Laanta Resort & Spa offers private bungalows with balconies (doubles from $115). Relax Bay (doubles from $39) has a Thai-French restaurant and an open-air bar on the beach.
Where to Eat: At Time for Lime, you can take cooking classes or just eat the fresh Thai food. Or splurge at the Seven Seas Wine Bar & Restaurant, at the posh Pimalai Resort & Spa.
Why You Should Go: American tourists havent yet caught on to the countrys beaches and exotic wildlife, and historic Panama City is a good jumping-off point.
Where to Sleep: Most of the citys hotels are in the financial district, where you can find well-known chains. Or try the Canal House (doubles from $135), a restored 19th-century colonial home with just three charming bedrooms, in the cobblestone-lined Casco Viejo section.
Where to Eat: Get ropa vieja at Las Tinajas, where folk dancing serves as dessert. The Hotel DeVille has a modern restaurant with nouveau French food.
Why You Should Go: Tulum is about an hour and a half south of Cancún, down the Riviera Maya of Mexico, but a world away from high-rise hotels and wetT-shirt contests. The beaches are pristine, and there are still plenty of affordable bungalows steps from the water.
Where to Sleep: The most authentic type of room in Tulum is a no-frills cabana on or near the beach; youll appreciate the ocean breezes, as the cabanas are not usually air-conditioned. Hemingway has garden and waterfront cabanas (doubles from $100), as does Tierras del Sol (doubles from $115).
Where to Eat: You can probably eat at your hotel; the owners often cook. Or take a cab into downtown Tulum and eat at Carlosn Charlies, which offers live music and plenty of tacos.