Best Winter Travel Deals
But WaitThere's More
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Rule of thumb: For a trip that you'll remember long after you've paid off the bills, look to up-and-coming destinations.
Why here? Southeast Asia has always been a mecca for shoestring travelers, and now Malaysia is joining the party.
Best bang for your buck: The Traders Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, across the street from the sky-high Petronas Towers, may be owned by the upscale Shangri-La chain, but its rooms go for just $85 a night. This is no backpacker's hostel: The hotel has a spa, health club, rooftop pools, jogging track, and three restaurants. Through January 4, 2009, many stores are also offering shopping discounts to foreigners; show your passport for extra savings. And you can eat on the cheap—curry puffs and satay for less than a dollar—at the city's numerous food stands. (How to play it safe: Look for the stands doing a brisk business, and buy only what you can watch being cooked in front of you.)
Bonus: Another cheap-but-chic destination is Laos. The world is waking up to charming Luang Prabang, where you can shack up at Mick Jagger's favorite hideaway, La Résidence Phou Vao, for less than $200 per night. Also consider Slovenia, in the hidden corner of the Alps that links Western Europe and the Balkan Peninsula. Easyjet flies from London Stansted to the capital city, Ljubljana, for as little as $37 in March (though beware of tacked-on fees that can raise the price significantly).
Tel: 603 2332 9888
La Résidence Phou Vao
Tel: 800 237 1236