March is a great month for budget-conscious travelers looking to get away. Winter crowds begin to thin out and it’s still weeks before summer, which means more tranquility and a better chance for lower airfare and accommodation rates. Toss in some decent weather and you’ve got the perfect recipe for that last minute trip. These spots offer something for everyone, whether you’re looking for the tropics, an exotic foreign city or something closer to home.
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Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Punta Cana is one of the best value destinations in the Caribbean for larger resorts and especially when it comes to all-inclusive. With the rainy season coming soon, March is really an ideal time to take advantage of good weather and reasonable prices. Flights into this city are among the cheapest in the Caribbean and there are many direct flights from major hubs. It’s hard to beat for tropical fun in the sun and crystal clear blue waters.
Cartagena is a great choice for a late winter vacation with the weather idyllic yet the already low accommodation rates start to dip even more. The city offers lots to explore as one of the best-preserved colonial destinations in the Americas. Wander through ancient fortifications or get lost in the old town with its colorful architecture housing museums, palaces and churches. After exploring the city, you can head to one of the beaches like Playa Blanca with its white sands and crystal clear blue waters.
March is a shoulder season in Bariloche so room rates will be lower and you’ll find all sorts of things to do. Surrounded by the Andes Mountains and set along the southern shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake it has a Swiss-like atmosphere and it’s also famous for its chocolate. The artisanal food and desert trend started here decades ago when some of the locals realized they had access to an almost infinite variety of foods that weren’t yet reflected in the area’s gastronomy. Today, from regular chocolate bars to all types of fruit-stuffed chocolate, it’s a true paradise for any cocoa connoisseur. You’ll also be able to look forward to outdoor adventures in places like nearby Nahuel Huapi National Park, which offers day hikes, mountain climbing and kayaking.
March is a fun time to be in Valencia which brings its week-long Las Fallas festival. There are giant, satirical paper-mâché sculptures often related to current political scandals and celebrity meltdowns before being paraded around town and spectacularly set ablaze on the final night. There are parades, fireworks, music and more leading up to the grand finale. Visitors can also enjoy the City of Arts and Sciences complex, the Barrio del Carmen, and the botanical gardens at the University of Valencia.
March is one of the best times of the year to visit this inexpensive city that has a friendly, laid-back vibe and offers lots of fun activities indoors and out. There are miles and miles of trails to hike in nearby Saguaro National Park and Mt. Lemmon. Fourth Avenue in the downtown area offers lots of great shops, restaurants, bars, and breweries while the University of Arizona campus hosts cultural events and has a science center and planetarium.
Sarasota offers fabulous tropical warm weather without having to embark on a long flight. Once there you’ll find lots of budget-friendly activities, including spending time on the beach. Lido Key Beach offers more than 3,000 feet of white sand and is a great place for shell hunting. Myakka River State Park is filled with wetlands, hammocks, pinelands and prairies and also has a river and two lakes, making it popular for activities like canoeing, kayaking and fishing.
Tenerife, Canary Islands
Compared to Europe, the Canary Islands are a bargain and Tenerife is the most popular with English-speaking tourists, but there are other options with similar weather and prices. While it won’t be as warm in March, it’s likely to be pleasant for enjoying hikes in the mountains. The centerpiece of Mount Teide National Park is, of course, Mount Teide, a volcano and the highest mountain peak in Spain at nearly 12,200 feet above sea level. There are multiple ways to experience it, but you won’t want to miss the chance to soak up the awe-inspiring views from the mountain’s summit. You can hike or take a cable car to reach it, where panoramic views of Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma and the endless expanse of the Atlantic all await. The island offers great golfing, beautiful golden sand beaches, and exciting nightlife too.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Prices are always cheap in Chiang Mai, even in high season, and with April the hottest month of the year, going in March can help you to avoid the worst of the heat while enjoying a budget-friendly trip. This is one of the world’s greatest budget destinations, not only when it comes to hotel rates, but shopping and dining out. Get up close to elephants at the Elephant Nature Park, admire the gold at Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep (one of the most historically and spiritually significant places in Thailand) and enjoy mouthwatering street food for cheap.
March falls in the shoulder season in he ‘C’ of the ABC islands, making it an ideal time to start packing your bags for a cheap spring break. There are direct flights from New York, Montreal, Miami, and Toronto, making Curacao more accessible and affordable than many islands. During this time of year you can book a great boutique hotel for less than $100 a night or even a luxe five-star hotel for under $200. The island is especially popular for diving but it also as a fantastic food-truck scene and thriving nightlife. Many of the island’s restaurants are centered in the fascinating city of Willemstad, an exceptionally well preserved example of a Dutch colonial trading settlement.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is renowned for its magnificent architecture, mouth-watering Creole cuisine and endless parties, with music, especially Jazz, blues, rock ‘n’ roll and Zydeco as its backbone. While it’s not a cheap place to visit during Mardi Gras, if you plan your trip just after, you’re likely to enjoy discounted room rates and airfare.