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Summer Budget Destinations

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In many places, summer is "prime time" for tourism. That frequently means paying more for food, lodging and other travel expenses. But that is not true everywhere. In some places, summer represents such a good value that it's worth spending extra money. Here are a few destinations -- in alphabetical order -- that deserve consideration for a summer visit.

Buenos Aires

Photo by Coto Elizondo/Getty Images
Photo by Coto Elizondo/Getty Images
Visitors to Buenos Aires from the northern hemisphere should remember that "summer" arrives in what they would consider "winter." So summer months (June-September) in the northern hemisphere are the "off season" in places like Argentina that have so much to offer visitors. June through September usually offer warm days and cool nights in Buenos Aires.

Chicago

Chicago, Illinois
Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com
Chicago puts a high value on its summers. There are quite a few months when cold winds blow through this "Windy City," so event planners take full advantage of the warm months to stage festivals, road races and other outdoor activities that add value to your vacation. If you schedule your trip around such an event, be sure to reserve rooms early enough to avoid the rush.

Mexico City

Peter Adams/Getty Images
Peter Adams/Getty Images
Looking for an early summer getaway? Some people avoid Mexico in the summer because of what they perceive to be intense heat. But consider that Mexico City, at an elevation of about 7,000 feet above sea level, records a pleasant average high temperature of 75F during the summer. In fact, it varies only by a few degrees all year. More rain falls in the late summer, and July and August also tend to bring more tourist activity. But a late spring or early summer trip to Mexico's capital could prove quite rewarding.

Miami

Getty Images/Joe Raedle
Getty Images/Joe Raedle
You've probably heard that winter and spring break are the times when South Florida roads are clogged with visitors. That's high season, with prices to match. But budget travelers often avoid summer, too. They're under the impression that summers are incredibly hot and uncomfortable in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area. Reality: Summer is often hotter in places like Cincinnati and St. Louis than it is in Miami. Florida benefits from a sea breeze that keeps temperatures from going much past 90F in all but a few far-inland locations. Traffic counts go down and so do prices at some businesses.

Panama City

Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com
Panamanians consider May to December "green season," meaning that they see a bit more rain and fewer tourists than at other times of year. It might not be the first place you think about for a summer trip with the kids out of school, but Panama City offers lower hotel rates during these months and a wealth of interesting attractions, including Atlantic and Pacific ocean beaches, the Panama Canal and a variety of tasty and inexpensive food selections.

Rio de Janeiro

Photo by Andrew Holt/Getty Images
Photo by Andrew Holt/Getty Images
As with other cities on this list, Rio's southern hemisphere location means June through September is actually considered winter. But Rio has a tropical climate that doesn't change too much by season. The most popular stretch for visiting this bustling city is Carnival time in February, with December-March considered "high season" for hotels and other tourist-oriented businesses. Getting to Rio can be expensive from Europe or North America. Once you arrive, you'll find some very economical food choices and a large selection of budget lodgings.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe, N.M.
Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com.
Santa Fe welcomes more visitors during the summer than at any other time. So why include New Mexico's capital on this list? The slightly higher prices of summer can lead to some excellent travel values. One example: Santa Fe's renowned opera company performs only in the summer. The so-called "cheap seats" are very affordable--$28 USD and up. Summer also brings more hiking opportunities in the nearby mountains.

Sydney

Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images
Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images
Sydney is most popular with visitors between the months of November and February. Remember that in the southern hemisphere, that's considered summer. If you would rather visit in June-September, you will be arriving in the off-season. Sydney's winters are mild--the temperature rarely drops below 50F. The city offers budget travelers a variety of cheap public transportation options and iconic attractions such as the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
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