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With the arrival of 2011, you may be dreaming of a big, once-in-a-lifetime trip, but are concerned about how to pay for it. We've got the answer. Here are 10 hand-picked destinations that may be far-flung, but also offer unexpected values.
What's a metropolis known for excess, luxury, and big spending doing on our list? Sure, there are plenty of opportunities to spend (and splurge) in Dubai. But beyond the glitz and glamour, the city holds countless entertainments that won't cost much at all. The key is to embrace the art of being a savvy spectator, and not a big spender. Window-shop around the city's malls, haggle for bargains at souks (e.g., local markets), and compare prices across vendors to make sure you're getting the best deal for your souvenirs.
Then, take a few days to get away from the commercial centers. You can soak up the sun on Dubai's public beaches, or spend an afternoon among the locals in the historic Bastakia neighborhood. While away a few hours in Creekside Park, then watch the dhows (traditional wooden boats) and abras (water taxis) crisscross the waterways. Or, grab your binoculars and go birdwatching—you may spot some of the 400-plus species around the region.
At publication time, Virgin Holidays was offering Dubai Holiday Packages starting at £473 per person (approximately $736 USD, see XE.com for current exchange rates) for four-night vacations with service from London.