Budget travelers around the world should put Arizona high atop their vacation bucket lists, according to international travel bible Lonely Planet.
Arizona is the No. 3 best value destination in the world on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018.
Tallinn, Estonia, and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands nabbed the top two spots. The only other U.S destination in the value rankings is Jacksonville, Fla.
Lonely Planet’s annual ranking of the world’s hottest destinations was unveiled online Tuesday, Oct. 24.
Arizona destinations aren’t strangers to Lonely Planet’s best-of lists — the Colorado River region ranked in the top 10 in the United States for 2015; the Verde Valley for 2013 — but this is the first time the state has made one of the four prestigious worldwide lists. It’s a major free plug for the state’s tourism boosters, a ranking they will waste no time touting to potential travelers.
Lonely Planet says its 10 top value destinations are places “to tempt frugal travelers.” It gushes about Arizona’s natural wonders and outdoor activities galore.
“For affordable and accessible adventures in Arizona, aim for simple roadside motels, then camp and hike. Visit Saguaro National Park on a day or overnight trip from Tucson. Over in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument you’ll find fewer fellow visitors to compete with for views.”
It recommends visiting the Grand Canyon’s South Rim in shoulder season (March-May and September-October) for smaller crowds and cooler temperatures and the North Rim in May or October.
Lonely Planet doesn’t overlook another Arizona vacation hallmark: luxury resorts, spas and golf. Budget-conscious travelers avoid them in peak season, of course, but they’re affordable in the summer when room rates plunge as temperatures rise.
“Aim for Scottsdale’s spas and golf courses between June and August,” Lonely Planet says. “Sure, it’s hot by day — but there’s always the poolside for those sizzling hours.”
MORE: Best things to do throughout Arizona
The winners in the other three top worldwide categories: Chile for best country for travelers in 2018; Seville, Spain, as the No. 1 city in the world to visit next year; and Belfast and the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland as the best region in the world.
Lonely Planet’s winners also will be featured in its U.S. magazine’s winter issue, available Nov. 7, and its annual Best in Travel guidebook.
“These are the places you shouldn’t miss next year,” said Alex Howard, Lonely Planet’s U.S. magazine managing editor. “From Alaska to South Africa, our community of travel experts have named the top places travelers should experience. Whether they’re coming into their own, celebrating an anniversary or have seen a resurgence in recent years, all these destinations are worth a visit in 2018.”
See all of Lonely Planet’s 2018 recommendations here.
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