You’ve been working hard, you’ve saved up all your holiday leave… but your bank account isn’t quite measuring up to a week-long vacation in Mauritius or New York. It’s a struggle faced by many of us at one point or another. But we think you deserve a holiday, even if your bank balance is telling you otherwise! We’ve found 10 top-notch travel destinations where you can get the basics for £20 a day – sometimes even with change to spare!
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Fancy visiting the home of the famous Angkor Wat? Well, staying in Siem Reap is surprisingly cheap! You can find a budget double room for less than £5 (that’s £2.50 per person!) and track down a cheap meal for around £3 per head. Beer is usually about £1 and the only thing you’ll really have to fork out for is your pass into the temple complex. You’ll find similar rates in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.
Got pho fever? You can get your fix of this zesty noodle soup in Hanoi for £1 or less. You can easily find basic rooms for around £9 per double, and you won’t pay much more than a pound for a beer. Besides being inexpensive, Hanoi is home to plenty of free attractions – meander along the tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake, get lost in the warren of streets that is the Old Quarter (try not to get hit by a scooter!), and visit the embalmed body of national hero Ho Chi Minh. Want to escape the city? You can also find cheap accommodation in Hoi An, Sapa and many more Vietnamese destinations for just as cheap.
If you’re ticking the Seven Wonders of the World off your bucket list, you will be glad to know that visiting at least one of them won’t empty your entire savings account. With double rooms in Cairo from £6, and meals going for around £3, you’ll have extra cash to spend on the important stuff, like souvenirs (around £3). You can visit the Great Pyramid of Giza for less than £5 – a veritable bargain for such an iconic site.
If you thought the Greek Islands were only for those with the budget for a five-star hotel, it’s time to think again. It’s surprisingly easy to visit the famed islands on the cheap, and while you might have to forgo a little luxury, it’ll be worth it when you’re sunning yourself on some glorious Greek beach. Score a double room for as little as £11, and feast on all manner of Greek delights – dolmades, moussaka, grilled meats – for prices as low as £5. You can explore the islands, by foot, and forgo a sunlounger for a towel to save your pennies.
Swap your usual winter sun on the Canaries this year for Goa. India is a notoriously cheap holiday destination, and Goa offers the same bargain prices as the rest of the country, with beaches and laid-back good times thrown in for good measure. You’ll find rooms here starting at £6, and a £2 meal is never far away. Water sports will set you back a bit more, but are also relatively cheap compared to other beach destinations – £10 jet ski session, anyone?
Mexico City, Mexico
You know what’s good? Tacos. You know what’s even better? Tacos that only set you back £1. Stuff yourself silly with as many of these bundles of goodness as you can fit in and wash them down with a £2 beer, before crashing in your cheap as chips room. Mexico City tends to be the cheapest for accommodation (around £7 a night), but you can still get a room in resort towns like Cancun and Tijuana for less than £15. Ole!
The medinas of Marrakech aren’t for the faint-hearted – but when you’re only paying £12 a night for a room in a riad, it sure makes navigating their mazes all the more palatable. Stop by a roadside café for a nourishing bowl of tagine, or perhaps a pile of couscous for only around £3. All that exploring is bound to get a bit stressful, so be sure to head to a hammam – the cheaper ones only cost around £1 for entry, but we recommend paying a little extra so you can rest safe in the knowledge that the hygiene standards are up to scratch!
Sri Lanka is a layered and complex place. Tea plantations jostle for space with soaring mountains and grand colonial buildings vie for attention with sweeping stretches of beach. Sri Lankan food is just as fascinating. Thanks to centuries of colonialism and a heavy dose of Indian influence (as well as its abundance of fresh seafood), the food here is packed with spice and isn’t shy about incorporating a condiment or 10 to elevate a meal. Dishes range from fish curry to hoppers (a sort of pancake with coconut milk) and plenty of deep-fried treats to boot. And, lucky for you, many of these goodies can be yours for only around £2. Hotel rooms for £5 just sweeten the deal.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that European holidays can be pretty darned expensive. And while there are options for the budget traveller – Prague, Spain and Portugal, for example – spending only £20 a day is something of a pipe dream. So why not give Sofia a whirl? Bulgaria’s capital offers just as much culture, history and, of course, food as other European cities, but with the added bonus of being dirt cheap. We’re talking £12 for a basic room and meals going for around £2, or £5 for something a bit fancier.
After a party island? Well, why not consider Phuket in Thailand? Here you’ll find rooms for a very reasonable £10 a night, and nab meals for under three quid. Head to the beach during the day before hitting the town in the evening. Notorious for its top-notch nightlife scene, particularly in the town of Patong, you’ll not have to fork out much for a drink – usually around £2. Now, who’s buying the first round?