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10 top value destinations for 2013

Story highlights

  • Two of Lonely Planet's best-value cities are in Oregon and Sweden
  • Great value doesn't mean everything is cheap in these spots, editor says
  • The countries of Namibia and Georgia also make the list

With airfares likely to increase through the new year, travelers are looking to get the biggest bang for their buck.

Lonely Planet's "Best value destinations" for 2013, part of its "Best in Travel" annual series, may offer just the ticket.

"Destinations on our 'best value' list are for those who want to make the most out of their dollar when traveling," said Andy Murdock, Lonely Planet's U.S. Digital Editor, via e-mail. "While the choices are not the cheapest destinations on the planet in every case, they're great options for travelers who want to visit somewhere new and interesting without draining their bank account."

Deals are to be found in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Gothenburg, Sweden; Cambodia; Bolivia; Spain; Slovenia; Nepal; Portland, Oregon; Georgia (the former Soviet republic, not the U.S. state); and Namibia.

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A travel spot's "best value" ranking doesn't mean everything is cheap in these locations.

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Take Portland: "There are cheaper places in the world, but for U.S. cities it would be hard to find a place where you can get more for your money," said Murdock. "Cheap food ... lots of free experiences, over 40 local craft breweries with competition keeping pint prices down, great hiking options without even leaving town, and easy access to the stunning Columbia River gorge."

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And Sweden is not known for its affordability. "Scandinavia is never cheap, but Gothenburg is a relative bargain, with great budget accommodation and public transport," he said. "It is still expensive when compared to global standards, but for travelers who want to visit Scandinavia, Gothenburg offers great value."

Outside of the best value list, Lonely Planet's rankings of the top cities, regions and countries put San Francisco on top in the city rankings; Corsica, France in the region rankings; and Sri Lanka was named the #1 country to visit.

Where are you hoping to travel on a budget in 2013? Where have you found great value in the past? Please share in the comments below.