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How many times have you already thought you would have to give up your summer vacations after spending well over what you should on that weekend escapades to Paris and London or some fabulous new outfits and handbags you just couldn’t resist? Luckily for us, being on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean that you must spend the summer sweating at home. Holidays don’t need to take a toll on your wallet every time you want to experience some new adventure. There are destinations out there which can be as affordable as they are amazing and full of surprises.
We made a little list of seven marvellous – yet affordable – travel destinations because you’re only human and deserve to take some time off, even when you think you shouldn’t:
A friend recently told me that Georgia was one of the most fascinating – and underrated- places she had ever been to, not one but several times, and after listening to her passionate tales; the Caucasus country got definitely to the top of my bucket list. Georgia has a cultural mix of influences from Russia, Turkey, Central Asia and Persia. Its capital, Tbilisi, is divided by the river Kura, with the modern pedestrian Bridge of Peace connecting both sides. There are beautiful ancient churches, mosques, small cobblestone back alleys and picturesque little streets with shops to visit, and outside the city, stunning mountains with small villages and the Black Sea beaches. You should not miss Vardzia, the cave monastery dating back to the 12th century.
Another underrated Eastern European gem, Romania is a triumph of magical sceneries, vibrant cities, and castles. Count Dracula, anyone? Visit Romania now to make the best out of it, with half the tourist of most other castle-crowded locations (and half the price). Do it for us and go fall in love with Transylvania, for starters.
Staying budget-friendly in the West is possible, and you will love every second of it. Head to Portugal for incredible beaches in the Alentejo and Algarve, which will cost you less than half the price of Sorrento for example, and plunge into the vibrant city life of Lisbon and Porto.
If what you’re looking for is a tropical paradise with pristine beaches, volcanos and exotic wildlife, the province of Guanacaste in the northwest of Costa Rica, is the right place for you. You will find affordable hotels, fabulous beaches like Playa Hermosa, and national parks perfect for outdoors enthusiasts. Guanacaste capital is Liberia, a small town known as “the white city”, because of its colonial architecture.
Thailand is a paradise, and it is currently a favourite destination among beach-and-culture-lover all over the world. The ticket might cost you something, but life there is more than affordable. Even better, both for your wallet and your experience, if you get away from the central touristic locations — Rough Guides suggests Nakhon Si Thammarat and Mae Hong Son Loop, but once there, you must visit Ayutthaya, a Unesco World Heritage Site
With its fantastic food, jungles, cities and people, Vietnam is an excellent destination for your backpacking trip. It is also budget-friendly, like not many other Asian destinations. A must-visit, especially when it comes to treasures like Halong Bay with its floating fishing village and rock islands, Ho Chi Minh, and the Mekong Delta.
If you like the paradox of luxe at affordable prices, South Africa is your oyster. When approached in the right season, between May and September, your stay at a luxury hotel or some safari adventure can be rather doable without breaking the bank. Do not miss Cape Town and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi.
Start packing and enjoy your summer vacations!