Five Places to Visit Before Economy Rebounds

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Sovereign debt dilemmas and devalued currencies around the globe are best addressed with two words: Vacation time.

Though it may result in just the slightest amount of schadenfreude by financial crisis tourists, several suddenly cash-strapped nations are turning to tourism to balance the books. This wasn't nearly as viable an option at this time last year, when the United Nations World Tourism Organization said tourist arrivals in the first quarter declined 10% worldwide en route to a 4% drop-off for all of 2009.

Even as popular tourist spots struggle with debt, banking issues and insolvency, the UNWTO predicts tourism to increase 3% to 4% this year. While the credit for some of that wanderlust belongs to improved economic indicators elsewhere, desperate destinations with exchange rates and enticing deals may help improve the bottom line and the 2010 luxury travel outlook.

With our bags packed and our dollars sufficiently stretched, TheStreet offers five economically favorable vacation spots offering discount concessions amid their recessions:

Greece

Economic malady: Excessive public debt pushing the government close to default. Proposed austerity measures, including salary cuts, have prompted public workers and the populace to march in protest.

Why you should go: Other European nations are sending aid, but the damage is already done. The crisis in Greece took the euro down from a high of $1.51 against the dollar in December to $1.35 per dollar today. What does that translate to in Greece? Not much if you're only saving $3 a night on a 90-euro hotel room, but it could save you more than $2,000 a week if you're renting a 13,800-euro-a-week villa on the island of Mykonos. Greece may be turbulent right now, but labor unions aren't occupying 11,550-euro-a-week villas on Santorini with five bedrooms, private pools and maid service.

Iceland

Economic malady: The collapse of Iceland's three major banks in 2008 sent Iceland's kronur currency and gross domestic product plummeting. It's been in a deep recession since, and a recent decision not to guarantee loan repayment to the U.K. and Netherlands only complicates matters.

Why you should go: They really want you there, and a recent volcano eruption in Southern Iceland that stranded tourists and travelers only exacerbates the situation. The country's major airline, Icelandair, recently extended a $499-per-person promotion that includes airfare and a two-night hotel stay at FossHotels. The budget-priced Iceland Express launches service from Newark, N.J., in June. Three- and four-star hotels like the Hotel 101 in Reykjavik and Hotel Ranga in Hella (where you'll find a great view of the erupting volcano) are offering junior suites from $280 to $500 a night.

Ireland

Economic malady: Ballooning credit and a U.S.-style property bubble tamed the Celtic Tiger of the decade before, as rapid economic growth ended in a full depression last year.

Why you should go: Desperation is forcing deals as the Shelbourne, K Club, Ritz-Carlton Wicklow, Radisson and G Hotel in Galway try to avoid defaulting on $108 million in loans. Last year, Irish billionaire Chuck Feeney was working on a plan to woo tourists to Ireland with $100 vouchers, though that hasn't come to pass yet. Tourism Ireland points guests to packages that range from $459 for a five-night stay without airfare to a $799 per person, air-inclusive six-night stay at the five-star Fota Island Resort in County Cork.

California

Economic malady: The state's economy, the eighth largest in the world, is facing a multibillion budget crisis that's already resulted in furloughs, loss of holidays and tuition hikes at state universities.

Why you should go: Because even the home team can use some help. Last year, California closed state parks and cut services such as beach cleanup just to make ends meet. The California Travel & Tourism Commission seems less concerned with luxury that with volume, so the least you could do is go out to Napa this September and throw down $1,750 to $1,900 while picking grapes and making wine at Sonoma Grape Camp. Consider your wine California's way of saying "thank you."

The Czech Republic

Economic malady: Lousy neighbors. Though the Czechs are out of the eurozone, the dropping value of the euro and the U.K.'s pound has made the cheap Czech Republic less of a bargain to hipsters and stag crowds.

Why you should go: For you, it's insanely cheap. With the dollar worth more than 18 Czech korunas and the cost of living still markedly disparate, a pint of beer that costs you $5 here goes for $1.50 in Prague -- and as low as 40 cents in outlying areas. Granted, the presidential suite at the Mandarin Oriental will still cost you more than $4,000 a night, but all-inclusive packages usually start at $100 to $150 a night. Thanks to a company called Toy Traveling, even your stuffed animal can see Prague and help the Czechs if you can't make the trip.

-- Reported by Jason Notte in Boston.

Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet.com. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, The Boston Herald, The Boston Phoenix, Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent.

More from Personal Finance

Rent the Runway co-founder Chats with Cramer on Equal Pay and a Good Pair Jeans

Rent the Runway co-founder Chats with Cramer on Equal Pay and a Good Pair Jeans

Best Real Estate Markets for Homeowners in the U.S.

Best Real Estate Markets for Homeowners in the U.S.

How to Be a Winner Like Legendary Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch

How to Be a Winner Like Legendary Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch

Best U.S. Cities for New College Grads

Best U.S. Cities for New College Grads

33 Pictures of the Drastic and Deadly Impacts of Climate Change

33 Pictures of the Drastic and Deadly Impacts of Climate Change