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8 Favorite Bang-for-Your-Buck All-Inclusive Vacations to Book Now

We get it—travel is expensive. Not everyone can afford to shell out a month’s rent for a dream trip, romantic getaway, or family vacation. But for every drool-worthy ultra-luxe resort, there’s a bargain to be found, even in the unlikeliest of places. From an affordable African safari to a wallet-friendly private island resort in the Maldives, these cheap all-inclusive vacations give you serious bang for your buck.

An avid Italophile, Laura is always on the hunt for the next great travel trends, luxury hotels, best places to eat and drink, and hidden gems. Her writing has appeared in dozens of publications. She also co-wrote "New York: Hidden Bars and Restaurants," an award-winning guide to the city's speakeasy scene.

See recent posts by Laura Itzkowitz

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Samara Private Game Reserve, South Africa

If you love adventure, going on an African safari is likely on your bucket list. But when most outfitters and lodges cost more than a month’s worth of rent per day, it's hard to pull the trigger. Enter Samara Private Game Reserve in South Africa’s Samara Mara, where nightly rates start at just under $200. Wake up to the sound of birds chirping outside your rustic Colonial-style suite, then spend the rest of your day tracking cheetah on guided walking safaris (two activities are included daily). Come evening, dine in the bush by candlelight while taking in the views of the Milky Way.

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Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, Aruba

A recent renovation by NYC-based Dash Design gave this Caribbean resort a funky, youthful vibe with playful pops of color and basket chandeliers. The property comprises two hotels—the adults-only Renaissance Marina and the family-friendly Renaissance Ocean Suites—set on a 40-acre private atoll teeming with flamingos. Take a water taxi to the islands or splash around in the rooftop infinity pool or one of the two swim-up bars. Hoping to venture off the resort? It's worth exploring the island’s capital, Oranjestad, home to 18th-century forts built by Dutch colonial rulers to keep pirates out.

RELATED: The 9 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Aruba

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Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, Costa Rica

If you fantasize about getting off the grid, this treehouse-style lodge in the remote part of the Costa Rican rainforest bordering Golfo Dulce and the Pacific Ocean is the place for you. Get back to nature--there's no Wifi, here!--with daily yoga, guided hikes, kayaking down the Esquinas River, or surf lessons at Playa Matapalo. The main lodge will fulfill your every treehouse fantasy with louver doors, open-air showers, and driftwood towel racks. Just don’t forget the bug spray.

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Top photos courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Lines


Norwegian Cruise Line – 7-Day Western Mediterranean from Rome (Civitavecchia)

If you want to pack in the Mediterranean’s most quintessential destinations in one trip without worrying about how to get from place to place, a cruise might be right for you. Norwegian offers the best bang for your buck, with a 7-day excursion starting at $799 per person, which breaks down to $114 per day—less than what you’d pay for a hotel room in most of the ports of call. (The ship docks in Rome, Florence, Cannes, Palma de Majorca, Barcelona, and Naples.) Granted, you only have a maximum of 12 hours to explore each destination, but that’s not bad for a quick overview of the Med’s most enticing locales. Just think of all the photos—and bragging rights—you’ll gain.

RELATED: What to Pack for a Cruise

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Meeru Island Resort & Spa, Maldives

With its Insta-worthy overwater bungalows and ultra-luxe hotels, the Maldives might seem inaccessible—but at this back-to-basics resort on the North Male Atoll, rates start at just $247 (including three meals a day). Meeru is the only resort on the island of Meerufenfushi, so you'll have plenty of space to play out your castaway fantasies. Bonus: The resort offers add-ons like candlelit dinners on the beach, champagne breakfast room service, couples’ massages, and a "love boat" cruise aboard a classic yacht.

RELATED: The Best Overwater Bungalow Resorts in the Maldives

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Club Med Opio en Provence, Franc

All-inclusive hotels are rare in France, but this Club Med in Provence is an exception. Set in the countryside about a half-hour inland from Nice and Cannes, Club Med Opio is a great option for families. The kids stay entertained with arts and crafts, tennis, and circus activities like flying trapeze by Cirque du Soleil while parents can pamper themselves at the L’Occitane spa, which features a gorgeous Roman bath. Caveat: the resort isn't on the water, but it's perfectly positioned for excursions to some of southern France's most storied towns including Nice, St. Paul-de-Vence, and St. Tropez.

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Photo courtesy of National Geographic


Nat Geo Journeys with G Adventures – Discover India

It's not uncommon for tour operators to charge upwards of $10,000 or more for a dream trip to India, but you can actually travel with one of the world’s most trusted companies without the steep price tag. Nat Geo Journeys with G Adventures' Discover India trip charges just $2,699 for a 15-day excursion through eight cities. That breaks down to a mere $180 per day, which includes all internal flights and transfers, activities, accommodations, and some meals. Get ready for a full cultural immersion—you’ll ride a bicycle rickshaw through the streets of Delhi, take a boat ride on the Ganges in the holy city of Varanasi, visit the Taj Mahal, spot leopards and monkeys on a safari through Ranthambore National Park, see Jaipur’s royal palaces, spend a night in a family-run guest house, and visit Udaipur.

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AlSol Luxury Village, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

If lounging on pristine white-sand beaches and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of the Dominican Republic without spending a fortune is your idea of paradise, look no further than this all-inclusive resort south of the main tourist area. The suites are so roomy, they feel like private apartments, with a minimum of 860 square feet, full kitchens, and private patios. What we love most: guests get access to Alsol’s two other nearby resorts, whose activities range from golf and Spanish lessons to decadent spa treatments.

RELATED: 10 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Punta Cana

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