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Discover Big Culture On A Small Budget In These Exotic Destinations

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Exotic escapes don't have to be expensive. While lounging on a tropical beach in the Philippines or discovering the ancient Pyramids of Giza sound like excursions that will burn a hole in your pocket, you'll be wowed by how far your Canadian dollar can go in such sought-after travel destinations.

Since 2015, the Canadian dollar has appreciated by an average of 19 per cent, while flight prices have dropped by roughly 20 per cent. Combine the lower airfares with destinations that offer more bang for your Canadian dollar, and you can escape to some of the world's most exotic travel destinations for the price you typically pay for a getaway much closer to home.

These three fascinating destinations are ones you should consider if you're seeking life-changing culture and picture-perfect scenery on a budget this winter.

Palawan, Philippines
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Photo credit: Zaldy Camerino

It's no wonder Palawan was praised as the World's Best Island in Travel and Leisure's World's Best Awards. But you may find it more difficult to believe this naturally stunning island is far from over-traveled. Turquoise ocean waters, reefs ripe for snorkeling and scuba diving, an iconic five-mile-long underground river, photogenic fishing boats, and towering rock caverns turn this northern Philippines archipelago into a getaway destination that will be impossible to forget.

Last year, a week-long trip to Palawan costed $1,757.65, but that same trip can be purchased this year for just $1,433.46. A coconut is calling your name.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
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Photo credit: Paul Arps

You may know a handful of people who have been to Bangkok, but fewer have been to the alluring, and far more rugged, Southeast Asian Ho Chi Minh City. Located in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City oozes culture through markets, museums, street stalls, chaotic roadways, and buildings that reflect the city's history while anticipating its future. Stare up at towering skyscrapers, duck into a temple, dine at world-class eateries, or grab meat-on-a-stick from a street vendor -- this city urges you to experience the Southeast Asia of yesterday.

Many travelers know that Southeast Asia is a characteristically affordable travel region, but the cost of a week-long escape to Ho Chi Minh City has dropped more than 17 per cent compared to last year. Now is the time to go.

Cairo, Egypt
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Photo credit: David Stanley

Egypt is a dream destination for history buffs, photographers, foodies, and anyone in search of the world's most iconic historical sites. As the country's capital, Cairo sits at the heart of it all. With roots in Ancient Egypt (the Great Pyramid at Giza is less than 30 minutes away) and a clearly modern metropolitan area that's the largest in the Middle East, you won't find yourself wishing you traveled anywhere else when you visit Cairo. And you certainly won't regret your trip to this iconic Egyptian city when you realize you're saving more than 30 per cent on your trip by going this year instead of last.

Also on HuffPost:Exotic escapes don't have to be expensive. While lounging on a tropical beach in the Philippines or discovering the ancient Pyramids of Giza sound like excursions that will burn a hole in your pocket, you'll be wowed by how far your Canadian dollar can go in such sought-after travel destinations.

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