5 Affordable Travel Destinations For 2015

Saturday 07th, February 2015 / 17:45 Written by
5 Affordable Travel Destinations For 2015
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Now that 2014 has come to a close, many of us are looking towards a new year of travel and adventure. We start wishing for our next holiday destination with bated breath. Where should we go in the new year? There are many aspects that one needs to take into consideration when planning a vacation, but after the expenses of the holiday cheer, most of us are looking for a place that’s both accessible and affordable. Here are 10 of the best travel destinations that you can choose moving into the second half of the decade… and they’re all wonderfully economical.

1. Bali, Indonesia 

This little 5,780 km² island could be a nation on its own. Located in the center of Islam dominated Indonesia, Bali is 85% hindu and it’s a peaceful, relaxing place to spend your vacation. Beautiful beaches rim the island and the interior is full of stunning jungle hikes, beautiful Balinese architecture and tranquil villages. You can be surfing one day and summiting a bubbling volcano the next. Plus, everything here is affordable.

Budget Rundown:

Accommodation ($30 – $100 / night):

It’s around $15 / night for a cheap double room in many towns, $50 for a nice, large double room and $100 can get you a stunning sea front resort room. Apartments here can be found in Ubud and Kintanami as little as $400 / month!

On a strict budget? Find rooms in Ubud for less than $10 / night!

Food (Average $5 / meal): 

Many street meals can be had for just a couple of dollars. Meals in restaurants are around $5. A meal at a fancy restaurant in Kuta (the main tourist town), still won’t cost more than $10 – $15.

Transportation ($1 / hour buses):

Buses are fun, adventurous and reliable in Bali with a 5 hour bus ride generally costing around $5. Taxis are also affordable (around $1 / 2km). Car rental averages around $15 / day from small rental agencies.

Flights From Canada (Approximate Cost on CheapoAir.com departing January 2015):

Return Flights From Vancouver for under $950

Return Flights from Toronto for under $1,500

2. Unawatuna, Sri Lanka

Unawatuna is a dream beach paradise and you can stay here for very cheap. Picture a string of just a few, lovely boutique hotels scattered across the powdery white sand, so close to the sea that the waves gently lap up at their sandy restaurants. Enjoy a candle lit dinner with the crystal clear Indian ocean tickling your toes. Explore nearby ancient ruins and enjoy the savory spice of the delicious Sri Lankan cuisine. A touch of exotic with a dash of paradise, Sri Lanka is an extremely underrated budget travel destination.

Budget Rundown:

Accommodation ($50 – $100 / night):

$15 / night for a cheap double room. Upgrade to A/C and pay around $20. Stay right on the beach for $50+. Vacation rental apartments here can be found for as little as $150 / week.

Food (Average $5 / meal): 

You can find quick snacks, meals and lunches on the main road for just a couple of dollars. There are great restaurants in the nearby town of Galle as well. Meals in restaurants are typically between $5 – $10. It’s worth noting that in the low season, dinners can take a long time to prepare (because they’re made fresh to order) so order in advance.

Transportation ($1 / hour buses):

You really can’t find more affordable transportation anywhere else in the world. Buses to nearby towns and villages will cost just pennies and you can rent motorbikes here for $5 – $10 / day (highly recommended).

Flights From Canada (Approximate Cost on CheapoAir.com departing January 2015):

Return Flights From Vancouver for under $1,100

Return Flights from Toronto for under $1,200

3. San Pancho, Mexico

So far in this article, our vacations have taken us far from home. Let’s shorten the flight time (and expense) a little bit and head right down to beautiful San Pancho, Mexico. This little beach town is not only a great place to vacation, it’s also a great place to relocate to. There’s an excellent community of expats and travellers, there are tasty restaurants (from Mexican to Italian fare and everything in between), and there’s a beautiful beach! And on top of all of this, it’s outrageously cheap to stay there!

Budget Rundown:

Accommodation ($50 – $100 / night):

Hotel rooms here can be a little steep compared to some other parts of Mexico, so we highly recommend getting an apartment for 2 weeks to 1 month. There are nice (but small) little casas here for as little as $300 / month! In order to save some cash, it’s best to arrive and find a place when you get here. If you book online, you’ll end up paying much more.

Food (Average $5 / meal): 

You can find quick snacks, meals and lunches on the main road for a few dollars. There are meals at the beachside restaurants for less than $5 and there are some great continental restaurants that have live music and tasty food for around $10 – $15 / meal.

Transportation ($1 / hour buses):

Taxis are fairly affordable with rides to nearby towns costing between $6 – $15 per person. You can get to Puerto Vallarta on a bus for just $3.50, or you could rent a car at the Puerto Vallarta airport for around $20 / day.

Flights From Canada (Approximate Cost on CheapoAir.com in January 2015):

Note: These flights are into Puerto Vallarta from where it is a $100 taxi or $4 bus ride to San Pancho.

Return Flights From Vancouver to Puerto Vallarta for under $400

Return Flights from Toronto to Puerto Vallarta for under $400

4. The Cayes in Belize

Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker are a couple of gorgeous islands just off the northern coast of Belize. There are hundreds of great budget hotels to choose from, some of which are set on a pristine beach looking out to the Caribbean Sea. The motto here is “go slow” and you’ll feel the vibe on these islands immediately because they are so laid back. This is such an extraordinary place that you may never want to leave!

Budget Rundown:

Accommodation ($50 – $100 / night):

There are apartments here but they’re a bit harder to find and expect to pay around $600 / month for a comfortable 1 bedroom. Rooms on the beach are a little bit more expensive here than in Mexico, but they’re still an excellent value. If you’re looking to get more bang for your buck, then Caye Caulker is probably the island for you. Online, the cheapest room we found in Ambergris Caye is $55 and the cheapest in Caye Caulker is $50 with A/C.  If you show up and look around, you can find places for around $30 / night. $75 / night will get you a nice A/C room, right on the beach!

Food (Average $7 / meal): 

There are some great, affordable restaurants on both islands. We highly recommend trying the seafood and at around $8 – $10 for the fresh catch of the day with sides, it’s a steal! Barbecue chicken is often cooked on the beach and usually costs around $8 / meal.

Transportation:

On Caye Caulker, there are only golf carts and because the island is so small, you’ll probably just walk everywhere. Taxis and golf carts can be hired on Ambergris Caye for around $10 from town to your hotel and visa-versa. You can rent golf carts for around $15 / day, but it’s easy to just walk around. Another great option is to rent a bicycle to not only get some exercise, but to save some money. The island ferries between the two islands and the mainland costs around $10 – $12.50.

Flights From Canada (Approximate Cost on Cheapoair.com departing January 2015):

Note: These flights are into Belize City, from where you can take the island ferry to the islands for $10 – $12.50

Return Flights From Vancouver for under $660

Return Flights from Toronto for under $640

5. Estepona, Spain:

Maybe you don’t need to go somewhere that’s steaming hot this holiday season. If you’re just looking for nice, comfortable climate and some beautiful natural landscapes, then you really can’t beat Spain! Estepona is a quiet village set right on the beautiful Andalusian coast and there are plenty of nearby towns and cities to explore including Malaga, Rhonda and Marbella.

Budget Rundown:

Accommodation ($50 – $100 / night):

We’re now into Europe, so the hotel room costs are starting to rise, but luckily there are still some great deals to be found in Estepona. A small, cheap double will cost you around $50, while spending around $70 – 100 / night will get you into a nice, large, comfortable room close to all of the action. A studio apartment here will cost at least $500 / month.

Food (Average $10 / meal): 

Think delicious tapas in a beautiful old Spanish colonial restaurant for about $3 each. A full meal will run you around $10 with a drink. Your best bet is to get an apartment, or a hotel room with a kitchenette and cook for yourself because food is very inexpensive in grocery stores. You can also find wine at the liquor stores for less than $2 / bottle!

Transportation:

Buses in Spain are comfortable and punctual, but they’re a lot more expensive than public transport in the other countries listed in this article. A bus from Estepona to nearby Rhonda will run you around $18, and a bus to / from the airport in Malaga will cost $25 or more. Taxis are expensive too, with close distances costing no less than $5. A taxi between cities will cost you $50 or more. Cars can be rented for $35 / day.

Flights From Canada (Approximate Cost on Cheapoair.com departing January 2015):

Note: These flights are into Malaga City, from where you can take a bus to Estepona for around $25

Return Flights From Vancouver for under $900

Return Flights from Toronto for under $690

Things To Note:

  • When you’re planning your trip to the above 5 destinations, your largest expense will likely be your flight. Make sure you check numerous booking engines and airlines to find the best deal for you.
  • We did test bookings for all of the flights listed above. Some of the above flights have layovers of 4 hours or more. Make sure you find a flight that suits your needs. If you’re flying within Europe, cheap airlines like EasyJet, RyanAir and Pegasus can save you a ton of money. You can also find some great discounts on flights between Canada and London on CanadianAffair.com. From there you can fly to Spain or another European holiday destination.
  • Room rates published in this article were found on Agoda.com. When booking hotel rooms online, you may also want to consider TravelPony. Click here to find out how you can save money with their easy-to-use service.
  • Apartment costs in this article are mostly from personal experience and from shopping around in the above destinations both online and on the ground. Be sure to bargain for your rate in any apartment as you can usually get a great deal for longer stays. Also, beware of pricy vacation rentals that are posted online. You’ll save a lot of money if you do some research and find contact information from travel blogs or on Trip Advisor.

As the year comes to a close and your mind starts to wander towards your next dream holiday destination, consider the 5 places above. They’re exotic, beautiful and you’ll get more bang for your buck than almost anywhere else in the world. You don’t need to go to an American-run, all-inclusive hotel to have cheap, relaxing holiday. Any of the destinations listed here will satisfy your beach holiday needs, while also giving you a touch of culture and authenticity.  Start off 2015 right, pack your bags and head to a paradise that will be good for your soul, your tan and your wallet!

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