In this article, we will look at the best cheap travel destinations that will inspire you to travel beyond those locations that you may have already tried and tested. So without further ado let's jump into the list!
Turkey - amazing cuisine and surprising hidden skiing (Flights €50, Accommodation €13-30, Restaurants €12)
Visiting Turkey offers a wealth of opportunities for those looking to travel on a budget. From exploring the bustling market stalls of Istanbul, swimming amongst the coral reefs off the shores of Antalya, or skiing in Erciyes amongst the mountain peaks of Anatolia, Turkey has something to surprise for every kind of adventure.
Turkey is a relatively safe country to travel in, with rates of crime low when compared to other popular tourist destinations. However, as always it is advisable to take the necessary precautions such as avoiding walking alone at night and staying aware of your surroundings.
Accommodation is cheap with plenty of apartments available from as little as €12.
A visit to Turkey is not complete without a taste of their world-famous cuisine. From freshly caught seafood to their world-renowned kebabs, you can find a plethora of options right on your doorstep for as little as €1-3 for street food, though to a higher-end restaurant is still affordable thanks to a favourable Euro to Lira exchange rate.
Buses and trains in Turkey, and especially when traveling from, to, and between major cities, tend to be fairly reliable, even during peak tourist season. However, buses and trains can get very crowded during popular tourist periods, especially around Christmas and the summer months.
Buses are the cheapest way to get around Turkey, but they can be quite dirty, uncomfortable, and crowded, though this can be an amazing experience and ay to absorb what life is like for Turkish people. Trains are generally more expensive but also nicer and cleaner. However, trains can get extremely crowded during peak tourist season. Negotiating and bartering are common practice in Turkey so if the price seems a little high for anything but in particular for taxis, it can often be negotiated down to a lower price.
For those eager to avoid crowded public transport most hotels provide shuttle buses to major airports and hire out taxis and coaches for excursions from your hotel should you require them.
Although the Turkish Lira or New Lira is the official currency in Turkey, sometimes also Euros are accepted.
Turkish all-inclusive hotels are popular with those who want to cover all the bases under one roof. These hotels are usually slightly more expensive than self-catered apartments, they are still very good value though and offer all meals and buffets pre-cooked, often free drinks, poolside bars, and the amenities you would expect from equivalent hotels in Europe, pools, spas, private beaches and more.
Thanks to many airlines servicing the area from Europe, there are always plenty of flights to choose from with an average cost of around €120 return in mid-August, making it one of the cheapest places to fly right now from Europe. Saving on flights means you'll have some extra cash to spend on upgrading your hotel, eating out a few more nights, or spending more money on activities.
Egypt - steep in history, natural beauty, and an all-inclusive hotel on every corner (Flights €120, Accommodation €13-53, Restaurants €12)
Visiting Egypt can be a great option for those looking to travel on a budget in search of some sun. Thanks to a vast array of all-inclusive hotels vying for your business prices are low and standards are high, meaning there are plenty of options to choose from to suit any budget. We wouldn't recommend staying outside of a hotel resort due to the added safety, security, and reliability a hotel can offer. Apartments are available ranging from €13-55 on average though you can find all-inclusive hotel+flight packages for almost the same prices. Going this route is advisable for peace of mind, though for those with an adventurous disposition, going for a cheaper option could be a great option for those looking to immerse themselves and see what life is like for the average Egyptian.
Cairo has a lot to offer and, with a high concentration of hotels and restaurants you are sure to have the holiday of your dreams without breaking the bank.
A major highlight of any trip to Egypt is the Pyramids, this is made doubly easy if you choose to fly into and holiday in Cairo, just a 25 km drive away. These great limestone structures are a world heritage site, their size inspires awe in all those who observe them, even from afar. Perhaps surprisingly, considering how long they have been there, these ancient structures remain in remarkably good condition.
Whilst Cairo is great for those looking to experience the history and the high-life in its luxury shopping malls, those of you looking for, sun-beds, deep-sea diving, and nature would be better off flying into one of Egypt's coastal escapes such as Sharm El Sheikh. Many of the hotels have private beach fronts, sunbeds, and palm umbrellas for you to relax under and listen to the sound of the waves. For those looking for a deep-sea adventure, most hotels will offer bookable diving excursions to swimming with dolphins and spot turtles, however for those looking to take a little more relaxed pace, Egypt offers world-class coral reef snorkeling, often on the doorstep of your hotel. Take an early morning dip and immerse yourself in an underwater alien world.
The best time of year to visit Egypt is in April to avoid the worst of the heat, 23 degrees Celsius average in March rising to 30 by the end of April. Traveling to Egypt between March and April will also allow you to catch the tail end of peak tourist season for Egypt that runs from late November to February as the crowds begin to thin out and allow you to get the most competitive prices on accommodation and food. It should be noted that the desert nights in Egypt can drop to 10 degrees Celsius or below, this temperature difference can come as a surprise to some tourists. Most hotels and accommodations should be properly equipped to deal with the temperature drop however it can be wise to double-check this before you set off. If you plan to head out for stargazing or an outdoor shisha smoking session or dessert tea with the Bedouins, it could be prudent to bring a jumper or a tight packing down jacket if space in your bag is tight.
The downside of visiting Egypt in April is that there are often long queues to get into some of the historic sites, especially at The Giza Necropolis that sees almost 15 million visitors every year with the vast majority visiting in the peak tourist season.
Bulgaria - the land of caves and waterfalls (Flights €20, Accommodation €13-30, Restaurants €10)
As one of the newest EU member states, Bulgaria has made a name for itself as a tourist hotspot. This is mainly due to its beautiful natural scenery and crystal-clear waters - two things that Bulgarians are particularly proud of. One of the country's most famous attractions is Sveti Ivan (St John), located in Rila National Park. With its wooded slopes, clear mountain streams, and impressive waterfalls, it's easy to see why Bulgaria has become known as the land of caves and waterfalls.
All this water and mountains make Bulgaria a great, often overlooked gem for mountains sports, in particular skiing. Once you get high enough above the tree line all the water turns to snow creating some of the most dramatic and dynamic skiing conditions in the world.
There are many ski resorts in the country, but Borovets is by far the best and most famous. It's located on the Botev mountains between the cities of Sliven and Montana with a nice panorama over dramatic snow-covered peaks. There are several kilometers of scenic cross country skiing but also fantastic alpine tracks and ski mountaineering to suit all abilities.
Borovets, being a popular ski resort means that there are plenty of cheap hotels and apartments to choose from. With lift passes and ski hires a mere fraction of their Alpine neighbours in Europe, you can get more skiing for your money. Get active and buckle up your boots in Bulgaria - it's definitely one of the most beautiful places to be!
Sofia is the best bet for those looking to explore the in-lands and mountains of Bulgaria. Flying into Varna, which sits on the shores of the Black sea, can be a great option for those of you looking for a summer seaside escape, and with prices comparable to Sofia, flying into either destination makes Bulgaria one of the cheapest places to fly right now.
The Black sea has a great climate all year round and there are plenty of beaches and resorts to choose from for those looking for some sun, sand, and surf, with some beaches’ waves averaging 3 meter high. Bottle-nosed dolphins can also be found in the Black sea so if you’re lucky you might find yourself surfing alongside a pod as they leap out of the water in front of your board. Varna is also only an hour's drive away from the beautiful city of Plovdiv, another popular tourist destination in Bulgaria.
When staying in Bulgaria we recommend staying in apartments where possible. Renting out a whole apartment between a few friends often offers the best value. While there are plenty of hotels to choose from though often a little dated. Prices for food and accommodation in Bulgaria vary depending on the location but tend to be lower side costing around the €20 per night mark.
Israel - not the cheapest destination to travel to on the list but a must-visit bucket list without the price tag (Flights €75, Accommodation €13-60, Restaurants €8-20)
If you love the idea of history and exploring religion, there's no better place in the world to visit than Israel. As the epicenter of the three major Abrahamic religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, you're sure to be in for an expedition full of discovery. Although Israel may not be the most budget-friendly destination on the list, flights often come in around the €50 mark and you can find whole apartments on Karta from about €13 to €50.
Tel Aviv has all the charm and modern vibe of any European city, with towering hotels that gleam in the sun. Take a short jaunt out of your accommodation down to the Mediterranean to soak up the sun and swim amongst and a cornucopia of dazzling sea creatures and coral. The average meal out costs around 33 Shekels or about €10.
Whilst Tel Aviv represents Israel's most progressive face, to experience the full depth of Israel's amazing and complicated history you have to take a visit to Jerusalem. Sites of particular significance include; Temple Mount, The Al Aqsa Mosque, The Dome of the Rock, The Western Wall, Mosque of Omar, Western Wall Tunnels, Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Mount Zion - the list goes on and on and on... To make sure you get the full experience and insight into all these truly awe-inspiring artefacts and locations we recommend buying Lonely Planet's guide to Jerusalem as a private tour can often be hundreds of euros, though there are some cheaper group tours available.
To avoid the worst of the crowds, visit between December and February, considered winter time in Jerusalem, though temperatures stick around a balmy 18 degrees Celsius on average, more than hot enough for most especially if you're traipsing around historical sites all day.
Spain, a popular destination but for good reason (Flights €10-20, Accommodation €5-50, Restaurants €10)
Spain is a magnificent country with rich history and culture and is one of the more commonly traveled to countries featured on this list, and for good reason. Flights are available for as low as €1 though during peak season you can expect to pay around €20 for a return. With many hotels and apartments to suit any budget, Spain makes for an amazing, unforgettable and inexpensive vacation destination.
Andalusia, in the south of the country, is one of its most popular regions for tourists due to its sandy beaches and laid-back atmosphere. The region's charming villages offer plenty of opportunities to explore local markets where you can purchase quality produce at 'wholesale' prices. Nearby cities such as Seville, Granada, and Malaga offer extensive nightlife scenes, and the party mecca of Europe, Ibiza is only a ferry away.
Some of the other locations worth traveling to include, Mallorca, known to have some of the best above water rock climbing in the world, known as 'deepwater soloing' and getting over to Portugal couldn't be easier to see big wave surfers in Nazaré.