With household budgets set to be squeezed even further this year, many people are considering forgoing their annual holiday, but with a little planning cheap holidays can still be found.
Here are ten of the best value-for-money holidays available in these tough economic times:
Poland remains a relatively cheap destination, especially since the value of the zloti has weakened against the pound. Poland can offer holidays for all, so whether you are looking for the hustle and bustle of a city break, a relaxing beach holiday or an action-filled mountain adventure, you will find something to suit.
Turkey is a fairly large country that has influences from both Europe and Asia. The capital city of Istanbul has an array of world-famous sights to see, as well as a vibrant culture with excellent cuisine and bargains galore in the markets. As with Poland, the currency (the lira) has weakened against the pound, meaning that British visitors can make their money stretch just that little bit further.
Slovenia is one of the best-value countries to visit within the eurozone. Ljubljana, the capital, sits alongside the Ljubjanica River and is overlooked by the castle atop the aptly named Castle Hill. With its fine architecture, sheltered squares and pleasant shops and bars, it makes for the ideal city break. Elsewhere, Slovenia can offer dramatic mountain peaks for cyclists and hikers and, in the southernmost areas, beautiful vineyards set among green, rolling hills.
Hungary is another country whose currency has dropped against the pound, making holidaymakers’ money last a little longer. Budapest is a fascinating city, with many bath houses that are a must for any visitor. Central Europe’s biggest lake can be found in Hungary. Known as the “Hungarian Sea”, Lake Balaton can provide water sports and beaches, as well as being central to the region’s vineyards.
South Africa is a great winter-sun destination for UK travellers and with a time difference of only two hours, jet lag is kept to a minimum. Kruger National Park is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and should be seen while the currency exchange rate is more favourable than it has been in recent years, as this keeps costs relatively low. Cape Town can provide accommodation to suit all pockets, from backpacker establishments through to some of the world’s finest 5-star hotels. Another plus is that travellers from the EU do not need a visa if they stay for fewer than 90 days.
Brazil may be fairly expensive in terms of the flights to get there, but the cost of living once there makes this a very affordable destination. The world-famous Carnival takes place every year in February, but there is something happening whatever the time of your visit. With over 7000km of beaches, this truly is a sunseekers’ paradise.
Mexico is another South American destination where the cost of living is low. Although prices remain fairly high in the more popular resorts, such as Acapulco and Cancun, the southernmost resorts such as Tulum offer far more value for money. The Mayan calendar ends on Dec 21st 2012, so be sure to get to see this fabulous country before the end of the world is upon us!
Bangladesh is increasingly popular as a holiday destination and is set to be a good-value alternative to its neighbour, India. Safaris in the Sundarbans National Park are very popular, with over 250 tigers roaming the grounds. Bangladesh is also home to the world’s longest natural beach, Cox’s Bazar. With such a vast expanse of sand, you’re sure to find a good spot for your towel.
Vietnam isn’t one of the more obvious choices for a holiday, but it provides an excellent value alternative to the usual backpackers’ choice. Book a hotel room in Ho Chi Minh City and enjoy the exciting sights, sounds and smells of the city. Divers will find some of the world’s best dive sites around the Con Dao archipelago. This is the ideal time to visit, as the country hasn’t yet been overwhelmed by the tourist industry.
Morocco has long been a popular choice for European visitors wanting a taste of the exotic without travelling too far from home. Water-sports enthusiasts will love the Agadir region, as the weather here ensures that there are always some great waves to be found. Marrakesh is an exciting city where those with good haggling skills can pick up some real bargains. Not so well known is the fact that Morocco also offers some skiing opportunities for a good deal less than the more traditional ski resorts; but don’t expect the immaculately groomed pistes that you’d find at popular European skiing hotspots.
Hopefully the 10 shoestring holiday destinations above will have given you some food for thought. Having chosen your destination, however, it is important that you remember to take out adequate travel insurance. Knowing that you are covered should things go wrong will ensure that you have a stress-free holiday without the worries of expensive medical bills and the like.
It’s also a good idea to research any potential destination well in advance of travelling to make sure you get the best out of your trip and to help you plan ahead with your food and accommodation to save that all important hard-earned cash!