Want your money to stretch that bit further on your next holiday? We’ve found five budget-friendly destinations based on the current exchange rate, where you’ll be holidaying like a king for absolute peanuts.
Current exchange rate: 1HRK (Croatian Kuna) = 12p. For every £1 you’ll get 8.50HRK.
Food: a three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant will cost you just over £20.
Croatia may be in the EU, but just like the UK it’s kept its own currency: the Croatian Kuna (abbreviated to HRK) meaning your pounds are stronger. What does that mean? A half-litre of beer (just under a pint for us imperial folk) starts at 15HRK (£1.80). To get that beer, head to Split Port just after dark as the atmosphere builds and bars and restaurants get a little livelier. Go easy on the beers though, so you’re feeling fresh for a walk from the waterfront up to Marjan Hill the following day. The green tip of the peninsula is surrounded by medieval churches, and lush forest paths that you can explore by foot or bike at ease… and without spending a single Kuna.
Stay: Divota Apartment Hotel
These renovated apartments are dotted across the Veli Varoš neighbourhood and sit within traditional old stone houses. The studios are complete with original stone walls and exposed beams plus a fully furnished kitchen and private terrace or balcony. Located in the pedestrianised old town, the apartments are within walking distance of Marjan Hill and the city centre so you can keep those transport costs to a minimum. Prices start at £85 a night and include breakfast.
Current exchange rate: 1 Rand (R1) = 0.054p so for every £1 you’ll get R18. A fiver will get you roughly R100.
Accommodation: a double room in a five-star hotel could cost you as little as £80 a night so ‘splash out’ while you’re below the Equator. Or if you’re really pinching the pennies, a room in a three-star hotel will cost you as little as £30 a night.
Drink: a bottle of wine in a fancy restaurant will set you back less than £10, so no need to worry when it’s your turn to get the round in.
You’ve heard of Cape Town and Johannesburg, but what about South Africa’s third largest city? Situated on the east coast, and as the busiest port in the country, Durban has a popular Golden Mile of beach. This seaside town is the place to be if you’re into your water sports. Dig out your wetsuit and make your way to North Beach for the best waves. Feeling spendy? No need. Put the credit card away because a one-hour lesson starts at R200 (that’s only £11) with Learn 2 Surf. Or release your inner child at Wet N Wild Water Park in Ushaka Marine World where an adult ticket will cost R179 (£10) – in other words, an absolute bargain in the theme park world. Alton Towers, you’ve got competition.
Stay: Durban Hilton
After a packed day of sports, treat yourself to the five-star Durban Hilton located in the city-centre and an easy 15-minute walk to North Beach. The rooftop pool and terrace offers excellent views across the skyline. Plus, it wouldn’t be the Hilton if you didn’t get some added extras like a spa, beauty salon and a barber too. Prices start at £66 a night.
Current exchange rate: 1 Euro = 89p (we know that doesn’t sound fantastic but stick with us because there are many bargains to be had in the Greek isles)
Accommodation: steer clear of the tourist hotspots and you can get a four-star hotel for between £70 and £90 a night.
Food and drink: for a three-course meal for two people at a nice restaurant, you’ll be looking at about £30.
Okay, so we know the Euro isn’t going to get you the best exchange rate, but we think Greece is still a super affordable option. After its own financial crisis back in 2010, Greece has kept its prices low(er) to encourage visitors to come back and spend. Travelling in the shoulder seasons of May/June and September/October will make those euros stretch a little further too. As the largest of the Greek islands, Crete offers a variety of beach resorts and quaint towns for budget travellers. Base yourself in Kissamos for a tranquil stay away from the tourists. Hire a car for the week (from only £78) and explore the 8,000km2 of island. We’d suggest visiting the pink sandy shores of Elafonisi Beach, only 35km from Kissamos. While you’re in the area, make a stop at Chrysoskalitissa Monastery, 5km north of Elafonisi for an all-important history lesson.
You can’t go to Greece without staying by the beach, and Mirtilos Studios & Apartments will tick all the right boxes. Located 150m from the sea in Kissamos, you’ll be in walking distance of the cafés and restaurants along the esplanade. Studios start at £60 a night and include a kitchenette, private balcony and free on-site parking. Then don’t forget to take advantage of the on-site swimming pool if that walk to the sea feels too much.
Current exchange rate: 1 Indonesian rupiah = £0.000055 (i.e not a lot!) £1 will get you 18,000 rupiahs.
Accommodation: now, this really depends on how basic or lavish you want to go. A five-star luxurious hotel room with a private pool for two could cost you as little as £70 a night. Or if you’re not too fussed about the five-star treatment, you can still get luxury for a steal at £25 a night.
Food and drink: a three-course meal out for two may set you back 180,000Rp, but when you convert that to sterling, you’re looking at a mere £10. Bargain.
It goes without saying that your money goes far in South East Asia, and in Indonesia you’ll literally become a millionaire. Get ready for some big numbers: 10,000 Indonesian rupiahs is a mere 50p, which makes 1 million rupiahs just over £50. One of the best value activities on this side of the world is a traditional massage. Prices start from as little as 70,000Rp (£4). Our recommendation is Beji Ayu Spa, which offers views over the neighbouring rice paddies from your massage bed. A traditional body massage here starts at 135,000Rp (£8) for 60 minutes and rises to 285,000Rp (£16) for a 90-minute massage followed by a petal-filled bath. Regardless of the treatment you chose, you’ll leave refreshed and recharged for a day of monkey spotting at the nearby Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary (entrance 80,000Rp/£4.50).
Stay: Mangosteen Ubud
Base yourself in the middle of the tranquil paddy fields and lush rainforests of Ubud at the Mangosteen Ubud. This boutique villa offers deluxe bedrooms with a private balcony overlooking the pool. Prices include breakfast and are an absolute steal at £24 a night. Plus, you’ll be close by to the Sacred Monkey Sanctuary and the Beji Ayu Spa.
Current exchange rate: 1 Lev = 45p. For every £1 you’ll get back just over 2.2 Bulgarian Lev, so you can double your money in an instant.
Accommodation: a double room a mid-range hotel will cost you around 60-80 Lev, a mere £25-35 a night.
Food and drink: a three-course meal for two will average 40 Lev, which is just under £20.
Bulgaria has been attracting Brits with its cheap prices and Sunny Beach Black Sea resorts for years. But we’d suggest avoiding this crowded coastline and opting for the cultural capital city of Sofia instead. Here, the pound continues to stand strong against the Bulgarian Lev, but still, save those pennies and take part in a free English-language walking tour with Free Sofia Tours (operating daily at 11am, 2pm and 6pm from the Palace of Justice). After two hours of walking, take advantage of the food and visit one of the two Shtastliveca restaurants in Sofia: on Vitosha Boulevard and San Stefan Plaza. The menu specialises in Bulgarian cuisine, complete with vegan and vegetarian options. Rumour has it, the ambience is similar to that of the Mad Hatter’s tea party… but we reckon you’ll need to verify that one yourself.
Stay: Hotel Lion Sofia
This hotel is all about location; it’s a mere 10-minute walk to the central square where you’ll find Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and The Church of St George. If you’re planning on venturing further afield, there’s a metro stop right outside the hotel. Rooms are clean and simple and the hotel offers an airport shuttle (for a fee). Did we mention it’s also super cheap? Rooms start from £30 a night.
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All flight and prices mentioned in this article are estimates of the cheapest prices based on Skyscanner’s flight search tools. These are subject to change and were correct at time of writing on 4 June 2019.