People tend to think that travel costs a lot of money, but I am here to prove to you that travel can be very affordable. For those with a limited travel budget I have asked some other travel bloggers to come up with their best value for money travel destinations.
In part one of this collaborative post Travel Bloggers will share with you their budget friendly travel destinations from all around the world. From Eastern Europe to South Africa and from South East Asia to India. These incredible travel destination suggestions will have you packing your bags, catching a flight and exploring new horizons in no time!
Batumi, the number one Black Sea resort in Georgia, might not be the obvious choice for the summer holidays but it is actually a really great place to visit. It’s modern, trendy, quirky in a way and full of attractions. But the best thing about Batumi is the great value for money. You can spend as little as 50 $AUD per day and enjoy the best the city has to offer.
When I visit Batumi, Georgia I really enjoy walking along the seaside promenade and watch the world go by (it can get really busy in the summer time but that’s part of the fun), wander around the old town to find the street art or hidden yards, visit the local market and the botanical garden just outside the city. For the best view, especially around sunset, it’s good to go by cable car to Anuria Mountain.
Since Georgia is a food paradise dining in Batumi will be a treat. The city is especially known as the home to ajarian khachapuri – a boat shaped bread with topped with a raw egg – it’s really much better than it sounds! But no matter what you try in Batumi you will fall for the Georgian cuisine for sure. There’re numerous accommodation options to choose from – the seaside promenade is lined with five stars hotels but only few hundreds meters away you will find more budget friendly options.
El Nido, Philippines
El Nido in the Philippines is fast becoming a top destination for travellers looking for an affordable island getaway. Located towards the north of Palawan Island, El Nido is a small coastal village surrounded by limestone cliffs boasting some of the best beaches in the world.
El Nido’s shores are lined with locally owned resorts offering affordable, yet comfortable accommodation that caters for every need and budget. For those wanting to be close to all the action, staying in El Nido town is the place to be. However, just on the edge of town, near Caalan Beach, lie many other guest houses such as Garden Bay Beach Resort. For 50 $AUD a night, I stayed in a large, double room with an ocean view, which included a delicious breakfast.
El Nido also offers many exciting outdoor activities. My highlight was a full day island hopping tour, including lunch and snorkelling gear, which only cost 28 $AUD. After that, treat yourself to a relaxing massage for only 10 $AUD. Take in a stunning sunset with cocktails and dinner on the beach and don’t expect to pay more than 25 $AUD per person. These prices are hard to beat but the quality is definitely not compromised. Your biggest expense would be return flights from Australia which start from 800 $AUD.
El Nido is a hidden paradise that’s only recently started to appear on travellers’ radars. My advice would be to visit this tropical island now before it gets overcrowded and prices increase.
One of the best value for money holidays we’ve taken was our tour around Albania which was amazing! Who says great places must cost a lot of money? Not us!
On our week-long tour we visited many cities around the country, but one place that really stood out for us was the city we started in – Kruja. Located just 50 km from the capital city of Tirana, Kruja is easy to get to and has several things to see and do to learn about Albania’s history and culture.
We recommend starting your visit at the castle where you can hike up to the watch tower for spectacular views. Inside the castle you’ll also find the Skanderbeg Museum (AU$ 2.50) which is dedicated to Albania’s national hero and has an impressive weaponry collection. From there head to the Ethnographic Museum (AU$ 3.70), a traditional style home that has been restored to give visitors a glimpse into what life was like in Northern Albania.
From the castle you can walk down the hill to stroll through the wonderful Ottoman bazaar made up of quaint wooden market buildings along cobblestone lanes for a little shopping. You’ll find souvenirs, local crafts, and a few restaurants that serve delicious food for very reasonable prices.
We recommend the Hotel Panorama for your stay in Kruja, not only for the prices (AU$ 62.00-110) but also for a clean, comfortable room with an awesome view. As the prices are so good it is worth the little extra to book a room with a balcony that overlooks the castle, bazaar, and up to the mountains. They also have an on-site restaurant that offers delicious food, and one of my personal highlights of our stay – a view of the area bathed in orange to pink hues at sunset as we had our dinner. Absolutely stunning.
The city I recommend for a great value for money holiday is Minsk, capital of Belarus. The country is located in Eastern Europe, but tourists rarely visit it, as Belarus is not a member of EU.
Minsk has lots of interesting attractions that you can visit at a low cost. By several travel price indices, Minsk is the cheapest city in Europe to visit. One day in Minsk costs just 29 $AUD according to Backpacker index including accommodation (bed in a hostel), while in a more comfortable case, 3-star Traveler index, you can spend 24 hours in Minsk for 60 $AUD.
Second one includes a hotel room for one night. Night in hotels with good reviews (8+ on Booking.com) and central location start at 65 $AUD for two (eg. Orbita or Belarus hotels).
Most of the city’s attractions can be visited free of charge. They include numerous churches, old town and Trinity suburb, Independence Avenue and Victory square. Entrance to major art and history museums including the popular WWII museum costs about 4 $AUD. If you want to enjoy the view on Minsk from a high perspective, visit the National Library observation deck for just 2 $AUD.
With taxi prices in Minsk (about 4 $AUD for 3 km), you can use it all the time. Cost of delicious dishes in simple, but good quality restaurants of Minsk start at 4 $AUD, while more expensive restaurants will charge around 15-20 $AUD for that. Coffee and beer usually cost between 1,5 and 3 $AUD, while in very central areas the prices can be higher.
Nusa Penida, Bali
Nusa Penida is the biggest island of the three islands just off the mainland of Bali. Most tourists go to Bali every month but many of them miss, in my opinion the best place to visit: the island of Nusa Penida. There are many amazing things to do in Nusa Penida. I recommend you to stay 3 to 4 days to have enough time to do all of them. Our favourite one os to experience Kelingking View point, where the view is ultra-famous on Instagram. Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong are unique places too and if you feel adventurous you can even dive with Manta Rays around this area. At the end of the day you can go to Crystal Bay to go for a swim and relax for a couple of hours if you have time.
Meanwhile, you can visit other parts of the island like Atuh Beach where you can relax the whole day in a unique place. To move around Nusa Penida you will have to rent a motorbike since places there are far apart, or you can also request an organized tour. You can stay in a guesthouse overnight in Nusa Penida for 20 AUD$ night, eat local food for 2 AUD$ and rent a motorbike for 7 AUD$ and maybe the tank will be full. For sure Nusa Penida is the best value for money for your next holiday if you are heading to Bali.
The southern state of Rajasthan in north-western India is full of culture, history and adventure and possible to travel on a very low budget. There are a few places to visit, so make sure to have enough time – 2 weeks should be a good amount to explore the best parts of Rajasthan. Visit Jaipur (the red city) with its impressive Amber Fort and the famous Palace of the Winds. Head further to Jodhpur (the blue city) and explore the colourful markets as well and head up to the fort for an incredible view. Jaisalmer (the golden city) is the perfect desert getaway – do a camel tour for two days into the Thar desert, where you will be sleeping under the stars right at the Pakistani border. Finally, Udaipur (the white city) is simply beautiful with its white buildings and palaces, surrounded by lakes which you can explore on a boat.
As you can see, Rajasthan is amazing and one of my favourite regions of India. In all places, you’ll find accommodation for every budget – from hostels and guesthouses for less than 10$ a night to fancy resorts. Generally, traveling India is very cheap. While you can get meals for as little as 1$, even picking the top places on Tripadvisor mostly won’t cost you more than 5$ per meal. Entrance fees are also low (however higher than for local tourists), and the state is easily accessible by trains or busses. Depending on your level of comfort, it’s certainly possible to travel Rajasthan for 20-30$ in a nice way.
By day the mountain town of Sapa in North West Vietnam, fills with women from the Black Hmong ethnic tribe wearing their distinctive black embroidered clothing. Having spent the day pitching to tourists, these pocket dynamos pack up their wares and trek downhill to their families.
Sapa is cooler than lowland Vietnam and sudden dense mists plunge the town into atmospheric white outs.
Trek through the mystically terraced landscape of the Muong Hoa Valley, through bamboo forests and traditional villages with their free ranging pigs, ducks and dogs. A shorter yet rewarding trek is down to Cat Cat Village and waterfall while the challenging 3143 metre summit of Fansipan Mountain, the roof of Indochina, can now also be achieved by cable car.
My personal highlight was a day trip from Sapa to the market town of Bac Ha. This Sunday morning ethnic market is a vibrant crush of locals wearing the traditional pink and yellow embroidered clothes of the Flower Hmong. It is a farmers market, where crops, home made rice whisky, fabrics and even water buffalo are for sale.
Sapa abounds with affordable accommodation. We chose Green Valley Hotel where a double en-suite room with balcony (but alas no heating) still costs as little as $11AUD.
Sapa can be experienced on a three-day train (or bus) tour from Hanoi. Ethnic Travel, Offers a three-day 4 night all-inclusive small group guided train tour for $166 USD per person from Hanoi. This price would be difficult to achieve independently.
If you enjoy colourful cultural interactions you will fall in love with Sapa.
South East Asia Cruise
Our South East Asia cruise of choice was a Sapphire Princess 15 day Treasures of Asia foray into ten different ports, including Singapore and involved four ‘at sea days’. The itinerary was as follows:
- Penang, Malaysia
- Langkawi, Malaysia
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Return to Singapore
- Nha Trang, Vietnam
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Ko Samui, Thailand
The bonus of cruising is that everything is provided, including a comfortable and well-appointed cabin, gourmet meals, snacks, entertainment, with beverages and shore excursions an added extra. The cost of this cruise was approximately $1660 for an inside cabin, that averages out to $110 per person per day, plus you need to add on your airfare from Australia to Singapore. Scoot Airlines has airfares from $636 return from the Gold Coast.
The downside to this particular cruise was that three of the advertised stops, namely Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok, involved 2 to 3 hours of travelling time to reach.
I would definitely recommend a South East Asia cruise to get a fantastic overview of some of these remarkable countries, culture and tourist attractions.
By Kathy Marris – 50 Shades of Age
Wild Coast, South Africa
While we found all of South Africa to be a very affordable destination, we were blown away by the Wild Coast. This region of the country, also known as the Transkei, is jaw-droppingly beautiful and within any backpackers budget. The area surrounding Coffee Bay is ideal, with rolling green hills dotted with rondavels, miles of beaches, and cows and goats roaming free. You can reach the Wild Coast with a rental car (we rented a car for $400 US for 30 days, the cheapest I’ve ever seen), or by taking the Baz Bus that connects hostels across South Africa.
We chose to stay at Mdumbi Backpackers because they work with the local community. There’s a kindergarten built onto the property and locals offer tours of the village and surrounding area. If you’re looking for an ethical, affordable trip, look no further. We spent a total of $125 USD for three nights for our private rondavel and all of our meals. The price can be brought down even more by renting a bed in one of the shared dorms or a campsite and bringing your own food to cook (there’s a complete kitchen at your disposal).
If you’re active you can surf, explore the caves with a local guide or hike to Coffee Bay. If you’d prefer a more relaxing day you can have a massage and relax in one of the hammocks with a good book. I really enjoyed the slower pace after days of waking up before the sun for safaris and long drives, if you can make it to the Wild Coast, don’t miss it!
I don’t know about you but I would never have thought of travelling to some of these places. To be honest there are several that I’ve never heard of. But what’s good about this is that there are now a heap of new Best Value For Money Travel Destinations that I can add to my bucket list.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this fantastic collaborative article.
This post is part of the Lovin’ Life Linky with a Lovin’ Life Team of the “ageing positively” kind who are as keen as I am to promote the Lovin’ Life mindset.
The Lovin’ Life Team includes:
Lyndall from SEIZE THE DAY PROJECT
By 50 Shades, June 21, 2018 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.