Exotic low cost destinations: how to travel on a budget
veryone’s looking for their soul mate and I’m looking for cheap flights,’ says one of those memes that go viral and show up on everyone’s Facebook page. We spend hours daydreaming about our next vacation, eager to find the ideal destination… And then reality bites: when you have money, you have no time; when you have time, you’re broke… But that was then, because things are very different now… Check out our selection of the best eight exotic low-cost destinations.
Aside from being the perfect introduction to Africa, Morocco is a charming cocktail of surprises. Visit Jemaa El-Fna Square, in Marrakech, and wander around the zocos. Stay in a riad and get dirt-cheap massages. It might not be a luxury spa, but you’ll shower off all your dead skin. It’s well worth driving a 4×4 into the desert from Ouarzazate. Can you picture sleeping under a sky you didn’t even know existed, surrounded by sand dunes?
Thailand is really hot right now. There must be something about it… Don’t worry about blowing your budget on meals. Food is so cheap that if you don’t like what you’ve ordered, you can simply pick something else… Go shopping on floating markets in Bangkok, including Damnoen Saduak, get a head and foot massage, and chill out on stunning turquoise beaches that are every bit as amazing as the ones at luxury resorts. All at affordable prices.
From the stunning city of Istanbul to the region of Capadocia, with its breathtaking natural landscapes, Turkey is brimming with eye-catching destinations. The downside is that the country has been in a state of emergency since July 2016, which might make travellers think twice before a visit. The ‘upside’ is that the measure has cheapened transport and accommodation.
Swimming with whale sharks, seeing huge rice fields, climbing volcanoes or visiting remote tribes are just some of the things you can do in this largely unknown country. Now, however, airlines have started including the Philippines in their destination lists, which has cheapened airfare to the country. Hitchhiking is the most popular way to get around, so you won’t be spending anything on transport. The Philippines also combines the chaos of the capital, Manila, with the calm of Malapascua Island, among other locations.
Vietnam is gradually become one of the cheapest destinations in South East Asia. The country offers 3,444 kilometres of coastlines as well as rugged mountain regions. The Mekong Delta is quite stunning, with rice fields and floating markets lining the river. It’s worth calling in at Chau Doc, a village with incredible views and colourful contrasts.
Cambodia is quickly becoming the new Thailand, and the temples in the Angkor Wat complex, in Siem Reap, are some of the most incredible in the world. These treasures appear as you walk through the forest and encounter the carved figures. The food is amazing too, with highlights including ‘Lort Cha,’ a plate of noodles, veggies and soy sauce. Our top tip: go to a traditional dance show.
Bulgaria’s cultural and historical tourism –with 40,000 monuments, seven included in the World Heritage list–, alongside the natural landscapes, have made it a well-loved destination. Check out places as charming as the city of Elena, with houses, patios and churches where time stands still. All without the usual European prices.
In Latin America you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to budget destinations, but Peru and Argentina are overrun with tourists. Nicaragua is a great alternative. The country is on a par with Costa Rica, since it also offers a kaleidoscope of green, orange and blue. The natural landscape (with three biosphere reserves) is as welcoming as the local inhabitants. Granada, the oldest city in the country, is a prime example of Nicaragua’s colonial heritage. So be sure to include it on your list and don’t worry about your budget.