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5 Cheap Vacation Spots To Travel To In 2020

A popular New Year’s Resolution for many involves taking in more experiences. Life is short, the news is often depressing, and people just want to live and see the world. Traveling is one of the best ways for anyone to gain knowledge, experience, and a sense of adventure, but the number one thing that gets in the way of all that is the price. 

This year, you don’t have to break your bank in order to have an amazing vacation. There’s always the option to dedicate a few days to having a “staycation” that’s all about you and your wants, but why not dip into your savings just a little to really get yourself out of your comfort zone? While experts have stated that airfare is likely to increase by up to 2% this year, which happens pretty much every year, there are still ways around spending thousands upon thousands for a fun weekend away. 

Our first destination is Bergamo, Italy in the Republic of Venice. This city is typically known by American travelers for its airport, as many land here before heading off to a more standard Italian vacation location such as Venice or Florence. However, Bergamo has all of the beauty and culture that one would want out of a trip to Italy. 

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Bergamo, Italy

Not only do they have a renowned art scene, but Bergamo is known for its outdoor activities, including countless hiking paths and skiing. Additionally the food is exactly what you’d expect from Italy, and is relatively cheap compared to places like Milan. Bergamo is most popular for its Hotel Excelsior San Marco, which has a beautiful rooftop view of the Italian coast, and rooms run for less than $100 a night! Want to travel beyond just Bergamo? Milan is only a 40 minute train ride away which would put you right in the heart of Italy, without hurting your wallet too much. 

If you live in the United States, an obvious and easy solution to saving on travel is to do a roadtrip! Especially if you’re being joined by friends and family who can contribute to gas money, traveling by car is not only cheaper, but more sustainable as well. Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina has risen greatly in popularity throughout the past few years, and it’s thanks to a bunch of roadtrippers who claim the ride alone makes the trip worth it. 

The Southern United States in general is much cheaper compared to other more coastal areas. Every meal can cost you less than $10, and parking for the beach is completely free anywhere you go within Ocean Isle. If you want to tap more into your wild side, you can fish for $1, and walk just about anywhere for some cool new scenery. There’s a ton of family-friendly activities such as mini-golf, arcade play, and community concerts that all will cost less than $20 per person. 

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Eugene, Oregon

Staying on the theme of road-trip travel in the US, look no further than Oregon. Eugene, Oregon to be more specific. Many people disregard cities that are home to major colleges as vacation destinations because they just assume the only thing to do there would be go to a frat party and bar crawl, however, this is not the case for Eugene. 

Eugene is known for its ability to give tourists something to do all year round. “With so many gorgeous wineries just a short drive away, Eugene has plenty to offer. Be sure to check out King Estate for lunch or dinner. In the summertime, enjoy the beautiful view from its expansive patio. Or, in the winter, hunker down by the fireplace while sampling the amazing wines and oysters,” said food and travel photographer Erin Lynch.

Copper Mountain, Colorado is Denver’s western chap cousin. A typical ski lift fee in Colorado will run you anywhere between $200-$250, however, at Copper Mountain the ski lift prices are $140. For $140 you get access to142 trails spanning 2,490 acres, with a summit elevation of 12,441 feet.” The town itself has countless restaurants and bars, all of which have happy hour specials on drinks AND food. 

To finish off our list we’re heading north, to Canada that is. Calgary, Canada is just like Bergamo in the sense that most people only ever go there when they’re experiencing a layover to get to another, more popularized, area of Canada. Calgary, however, offers all the same amenities you’d expect to get from a Canadian vacation, for way less. The Fairmont Palliser is one of the most well-reviewed hotels in the Calgary area, and with room rates starting as low as $130 a night, you can’t go wrong. The Palliser also recently opened their own Dining Room and Bar, making your decisions regarding where to eat much easier. 

All of these locations would make for perfect vacation spots, and while you’ll still have to pay a decent amount, you won’t be breaking your bank as much as you would going to a more standard vacation spot. Forbes recently listed a total of 43 “cheap” vacation destinations around the world that might also inspire your next travel move. 


How To Plan The Perfect Staycation

With New Year’s coming up, it’s about time to start setting some goals for yourself to bring into 2020. Ideally, we’d all love to aspire for more travelling, vacations, and experiences for ourselves in the new year. Exploring new places and cultures is one of the greatest human experiences we can give ourselves as it teaches us about the many people, places, and things that make our world so big and beautiful. However, a major set back that always seems to get in the way of just picking up and travelling across the world is money. Who can afford to travel from country to country whenever they please besides the super elite? This year, instead of struggling to save up for five days in a foreign country, learn about the world by staying right where you are. 

The concept of going on a “staycation” has grown immensely in popularity mainly because so many people are discovering the actual possibilities that come from local travel. When we explore the many nooks and crannies of our community we find that there are aspects of our local culture that we never could’ve imagined. 

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First and foremost, make a list of all the known attractions that your town has access to. This can include activities you’ve done before, places you’ve already visited, etc. Either way, it’s good to make a visual for yourself of all the things that you know you are capable of participating in. When you run out of ideas yourself, check your town’s Facebook page/website/any resource that’s made for town leisure for additional ideas. Now you have a fully formed list of possible parks, museums, historic sites, restaurants, etc. that you can try. 

Look through your list and prioritize based on desire. When going into this, you need to have an open mind. Your list is obviously going to include things you’ve always known about, but may have never done because you just never deemed it necessary for yourself. Now’s your chance to break out of that closed-minded way of thinking and experience some things that you may end up really enjoying!

One of the greatest staycation activities you can do is try out new eateries. Food is a universal language amongst everyone, so make a group chat and invite some friends to that restaurant that’s a few towns over that you’ve always known about, but never had a reason to go to. What’s great about staycations is that money that would have been spent on travel fares, hotel rooms, etc. can be spent in bulk on local activities. 

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A major reason people love to travel is to learn about different ways of life. When going on a “staycation” you don’t really have a lot of room for educating yourself on new ways of life when you’re just staying in the same place you’ve always lived. However, utilizing educational resources, such as museums, libraries, educational centers, plant arboretums, etc., can give you just as much cultural information as actual travel. 

While going to the library and checking out a book on Europe is nowhere near as good as actual Europe, you can still make a staycation day out of it. Check out a few books on the history of a European city, go to the grocery store and get some traditional food items from that city and have yourself a picnic in which you learn all about this new way of life. It may not be Paris, but it sure beats staying home and binging your favorite show for the third time in a row.

While nothing actually beats going to a foreign country with white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, why sit at home and keep fantasizing when you can be utilizing the world around you. There are new things and places to discover everywhere we look. 

So go to a new local coffee shop instead of Dunkin’ like you do every morning. Change up your daily jogging route, go paint a landscape in a park you haven’t been to in five years, and end the day going out to dinner at that new Mexican place followed by a movie, which I’m sure you haven’t gone out to see in quite some time. You don’t need extravagant hotel rooms and room service to experience life when it’s right outside your door.


Second Largest U.S. ‘Mega Mall’ Opens in New Jersey

A new ‘mega mall’ called the American Dream complex has just opened in New Jersey.  Housing over 500 shops and restaurants, American Dream includes a 16-story indoor ski slope, a roller coaster and a water park.

Covering 3 million square feet, American Dream is the second largest mall in the country and the third largest in North America. Expected to attract over 40 million visitors within its first year, its website states that, American Dream is a revolutionary, first of its kind community for fashion and luxury retail, fine to casual dining and an array of unexpected entertainment.’

Don Ghermezian, CEO of American Dream is quoted as saying ‘American Dream is an extraordinary and inclusive community that will mean something different to everyone who visits, whether they are residents of the area or traveling from abroad. With all of its unique components, this destination will be the realization of our guests’ wildest dreams.”

American Dream promises that ‘no two visits will ever be the same’, drawing on their state of the art digital mobile capability to help visitors navigate around the venue. Keen to tap into an increasingly digitally-savvy audience, American Dream will also offer hyper-personalized, on demand experiences through their American Dream app. 

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The development comes at a time when the high street is facing significant strain following the boom in ecommerce. In fact, according to real estate research firm CoStar Group, there have been only 9 malls built since 2015. American Dream plans to counteract this through its plans for 55% of the space to be used for entertainment, which will in part relieve some of the pressure on retail trade alone. 

American Dream is reportedly planning to cater to a wide range of tastes with its portfolio of attractions, which include a bunny field, an aviary, and doggy day care. For the more prestigious customer, there is a luxury wing where shoppers can relax and enjoy champagne and caviar whilst waiting for their shopping to be wrapped. 

American Dream is not just your average mall. Many believe it holds a unique offering and it has been designed to help bring local communities together.

Given its size and variety of experiences on offer, American Dream is being marketed as a ‘staycation’ experience, thereby drawing visitors from all over the country to indulge in its unique offering. It is situated just five miles from Manhattan, adjacent to the Meadowlands Sports Complex and offers guests 33,000 parking spaces. It is accessible by a NJ Transit bus hub on-site, as well as a hub for tour operators and there is a NJ Transit station on-site. Future plans include an NY Waterway ferry service from Manhattan to Port Imperial Weehawken with connecting dedicated shuttles to American Dream and a taxi and ride-share hub located on-site.

It has also been designed with flexibility in mind, meaning that it can cater to different trends and events long after building work has been completed. Examples of this include the court’s fountain which can be converted into a catwalk for a fashion show. Equally, the space dedicated to the ice rink can rapidly be repurposed as a concert venue, essential for bringing in the crowds out of hours.

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Despite having an optimistic future, American Dream has faced a number of challenges over the years and it has taken some time to finally be in a position to open its doors to the public. Initially called Xanadu by its former owners, the project ground to a halt in 2009 following the financial crisis. Creditors seized the project a year later and in 2011, Canada-based Triple Five took ownership and decided to rebrand it American Dream. 

Triple Five were well placed to drive forward the vision for American Dream, given their expertise and success with two of the largest malls in North America, West Edmonton in Canada, and Bloomington in Minnesota. Both of these malls relied heavily on entertainment  and it is this same model that has been applied to American Dream.

Despite the owners’ previous mall successes, many remain skeptical of whether American Dream will really be able to deliver on its promises now its doors are open. The retail sector remains turbulent and American Dream will always be a destination venue; people have to be enticed to physically want to travel there. Some have also suggested that its close proximity to a more enticing Manhattan will prove its downfall. There is also some question over how successful retailers there will be when many of the brands already have a strong presence elsewhere. Adding to this is the requirement to abide by blue laws and close all retail shops on Sundays, although the restaurants and theme parks will remain unaffected. 

That said, American Dream is not just your average mall. Many believe it holds a unique offering and it has been designed to help bring local communities together. Amidst all of the doom and gloom, you’ve got to have a dream. Maybe this one is it.