Top 10 good-value destinations for travel this summer

Ticking the budget holiday box is about more than cheap flights. To truly experience good-value travel, you need affordable accommodation, a lot of free sightseeing and a great deal of street-food dining to boot.

With that in mind, we’ve narrowed down our list to 10 recommendations that promise adventure on a shoestring.

Beach in Nicaragua for post-pandemic travel

Top of our list of good-value travel destinations is the largest country in Central America. Nicaragua is known for its untouched beaches, wild Pacific waves, beautifully preserved towns, idyllic islands and no fewer than 19 volcanoes. Then there are its brilliant hotel bargains, such as Granada’s highly rated El Almirante, which costs from £43 a night.

Much of the country’s 550 miles of coastline is delightfully quiet year-round and, with the calm Caribbean shores to the east and the surfable swells of the Pacific to the west, there’s something to suit every type of beach lover. And there’s plenty to see beyond the pristine sandy stretches of this perfect, great-value escape.

Discover the immaculately preserved Spanish colonial architecture in the capital city Granada, and the colourful murals of Nicuragua’s second-largest city, Léon. Dive with hammerhead sharks off Little Corn Island and hike up the twin volcanoes of Isla de Ometepe in Lake Cocibolca (its cheeky local name is ‘The Lady’s Breasts’). You can even try ash surfing down a crater like Cerro Negro – beat that for a holiday anecdote.

Meal in a local restaurant: £3

Local beer: £1

Taxis: £1 per km

Budget hotel or hostel: From £5 per night

Midrange hotel: £30-40 per night

Morocco is perfect for UK travellers looking to branch away from European holiday destinations – it’s not too far on the plane, but the North African country is bursting with Berber culture, desert landscapes and bustling bazaars. Casablanca and Marrakech offer a mix of ornate architecture and crafts markets, while Essaouira on the west coast is a beautifully faded seaside resort (Jimi Hendrix famously holidayed there in the summer of 1969).

Hotels in Morocco are great value, wherever you go. The four-star Riad Ghali & Spa in Marrakech has rooms from £65 per night, while £15 per night is all you’ll be charged at The House by Riad Inna in Essaouira.

Elsewhere in the country, you can see the Atlas Mountains – said to be the falling place of the Greek god Atlas, when the weight of the world got too much for his shoulders – or head down to the ochre swathes of the Sahara Desert and book a camel ride.

Meal in a local restaurant: £3

Meal in a fancy restaurant: £15

Local beer: £2

Taxis: 40p per km

Budget hotel or hostel: From £5 per night

Midrange hotel or a riad in Marrakech: £30-40 per night

A seaside town in Turkey, which also happens to be a great post-pandemic travel location for bargain holiday hunters

History, culture and practically guaranteed sunshine… Turkey has it all. First stop on your budget-friendly travel adventure is Istanbul. Try street-food specialty Balik Ekmek – a catch-of-the-day fish sandwich – then visit the Hagia Sophia. This 1,500-year-old complex was used as a church in the Byzantine era and then a mosque by the Ottomans. Since its recent conversion back into a mosque, entry is now free.

Aside from its epic historical significance, Turkey has endless golden beaches along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, where a traditional sailboat cruise is a must. Another highlight can be found inland in the village of Pamukkale, where you can channel your inner Roman with a dip in the thermal pools.

We’re fans of small, friendly guesthouses, and you’re sure to get a warm welcome at Istanbul’s ornate Buyukada Cankaya Hotel, where rooms cost around £57 a night.

Meal in a local restaurant: £3

Meal in a fancy restaurant: £15

Local beer: £2

Taxis: 40p per km

Budget hotel: Less than £10 per night

Midrange hotel: £30-40 per night

The mother of all adventure destinations, India doesn’t always scream ‘luxury’ – but travelling in this awe-inspiring country has its rewards. And one of the biggest will be for your wallet.

A few weeks spent hopping between colourful cities, temples and historical landmarks via trains and by road need only set you back around £300. That’s because the average budget per day for three meals, drinks, a few rickshaw journeys and a comfy bed can cost less than £20 per person. And off the beaten track, you may find things even cheaper.

Entry into the Taj Mahal is around £10, and a multi-day Himalayan hiking trip with a private guide will prove to be one of the most competitively priced, epic adventure experiences you’ll find in the world.

Meal in a local restaurant or street food: From 50p

Meal in a nice restaurant: Often less than £5

Local beer: 70p

Rickshaws: 20p per km, but drivers are open to haggling. Try to agree a set price before your trip!

Trains: £15-20 for a long, overnight journey

Budget hotel or hostel: Less than £5 per night

Midrange hotel: £15-30 per night

Cambodia's temples are just the start of this affordable yet adventure packed post-pandemic travel destination

In recent years, Cambodia has been growing in popularity – not only with gap-year backpackers, but also grown-ups seeking good-value travel. Here, five-star digs can cost less than a Travel Lodge back home. Take eOcambo Village in Siem Reap, where rooms with a pool view cost around £73 a night.

Cambodians are famously friendly and you’ll be welcomed with wide smiles at the country’s cafés and eateries. And you can dig into steaming bowls of chicken broth and noodles for just a few quid – win.

For a touristy but essential Cambodian experience, set your alarm and don your elephant-motif trousers to watch the sunrise behind the world-famous Angkor Wat temple – the most iconic sight at the vast Archaeological Park. With 72 temples to see there, it might be worth getting the £50 three-day ticket rather than the £30 one-day pass. 

Meal in a local restaurant or street food: From £1

Meal in a nice restaurant: £5-10

Local beer: £1

Tuktuks or taxis: From 80p per km, but drivers are open to haggling.

Busses: £15-20 for a long, overnight journey

Budget hotel or hostel: Less than £5 per night

Midrange hotel: £15-20 per night

It's a surprise Nepal is one of the cheapest countries to visit in the world and it's the perfect post-pandemic travel destination

With the snow-capped Himalayas providing the backdrop to rugged mountain scenery, dense jungle plains, hilltop villages and no fewer than 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it’s hard to believe that Nepal is also one of the cheapest countries to visit in the world.

Nepal is brilliantly set up for independent travellers. Organised hikes, such as the famous Annapurna Circuit, offer a once-in-a-lifetime adventure alongside hot meals and beds at traditional tea houses. Wildlife lovers should head to Chitwan National Park to see tigers and elephants up close, but avoid the luxury lodges and stay at nearby Sauraha, where a private double room can cost just £9 a night.

Bustling capital Kathmandu can be a shock to the system after the serenity of the mountains, but once you’ve readjusted, stroll around the historic centre with its pavilions and pagodas, feast on delicious street food for about a fiver a day, and stay in perfectly lovely hotels, such as the two-star Famous House from £13 a night. Don’t mind if we do.

Meal in a local restaurant or street food: From £1

Meal in a nice restaurant: Often less than £10

Local beer: £1.50

Taxis or rickshaws: £1 per km, but try to barter

Budget hotel or hostel: Less than £5 per night

Midrange hotel on the Annapurna Circuit: £15-30per night

Swap the concrete jungle for a wildlife paradise in Kenya. Once you’ve factored in the flight cost, it’s a surprisingly affordable safari destination that will offer unforgettable landscape views and interactions with local culture and wildlife.

While there’s plenty to see and do in Nairobi and Mombasa – like the Karen Village art centre and Fort Jesus national park, respectively – the most popular attractions are deep in the bush, outside the cities.

National parks, giraffe centres and thundering waterfalls all make good day trips, but it’s the safari options that are the most tantalising in Kenya. Book in to see Maasai Mara from as little as £60 per day and watch lions, cheetahs and elephants up close in their natural habitat.

Get into safari mode early on by booking into one of the large luxury tents at the Wildebeest Eco Camp in Nairobi for around £25 per night.

Meal in a local restaurant: From £3

Meal in a nice hotel restaurant: £30

Local beer: £1.50

Taxis: £1.50 per km

Budget lodgings: £20-40 per night

Midrange hotel: £70-100 per night

Safari passes: Budget around £100 per day of safari to be safe, depending on which park you visit.

Bolivia is considered the cheapest country to visit in South America and an ideal post-pandemic travel destination

The cheapest country in South America, Bolivia is a budget traveller’s dream. High-energy capital La Paz is a whirlwind experience. Hop on the ‘subway in the sky’ cable car for dizzying views, then wander along Calle Jaen, home to some of the city’s best-preserved architecture. You can find good-value accommodation here for around £15 a night, or try something like the cosy four-star Casa Fusion Hotel Boutique, which has rooms starting from £50 a night.

From La Paz, head to Lake Titicaca where you can dine on the freshest trout, cooked in kiosks along the shore on Copacabana, for less than £3. Or take a boat to Isla Del Sol and hike across the island to take in the views over the lake.

Food in Bolivia costs next to nothing. Look out for almuerzo (set lunch), which includes soup, a main course and dessert for as little as £1. If you’re going to treat yourself to one expensive excursion, tour the world’s largest salt flat, Salar de Uyuni. This amazing sight, nicknamed the world’s largest mirror, is not to be missed.

Local meal or street food: £1-2

Meal in a midrange restaurant: £5-10

Local beer: £2

Taxis: £1.50 per km

Budget lodgings: £5-20 per night

Midrange hotel: £30 per night

Honduras is home to stunning white sandy beaches, but you won't need to remortgage to visit this post-pandemic travel hotspot.

If you’ve always wanted to go to the Maldives but don’t fancy remortgaging, fret not. Honduras has swathes of white sand beaches without the honeymooners’ price hike. In fact, travelling here will set you back less than £25 a day, with mega cheap eats and hotel rooms averaging a measly £10. Consider staying in the capital city of Tegucigalpa, otherwise known as Tegus. Book a room at the two-star Hotel Nan King from £24 a night.

Honduras is a fantastic choice for learning to scuba dive on the cheap, with courses offered at competitive rates. Head for the pristine beaches along Honduras’s northern coast, splendid for some isolation and ideal for snorkelling, too.

On dry land, check out the bustling port at Puerto Cortes, then get out to the picture-postcard seaside town of Omoa and the beautiful city of Comayagua, with its quaint Spanish houses and packed historic plazas. Bag a traditional bistek (steak) sandwich from a nearby cafe for less than £4 and have a picnic in nearby Parque Central.

Meal in a local restaurant: £3-5

Local beer: £1

Taxis: £2 per km

Budget hotel or hostel: From £5 per night

Midrange hotel: £20-40 per night

Jamaica is less expensive than other Caribbean islands, especially right now. Jamaica’s dollar has slumped 12 per cent behind the British pound, meaning that it’s a favourable exchange rate for booking a good-value holiday there for this year. It’s relatively cheap to eat and drink out there, particularly around the chilled-out, north coast hub of Montego Bay – also home to one of the largest (and best-value) airports in the Caribbean.

Some of the island’s most memorable experiences are free – like plonking yourself on one of its serene, white-sand public beaches, walking Negril’s Seven Mile Beach or listening to a live reggae set, while watching the sunset in Montego Bay.

As for accommodation, all-inclusive can sometimes be your best bet here (and you can supplement your hotel meals with cheap street food snacks, like spicy meat patties or jerk chicken). Montego bay’s Mobay Kotch hotel doesn’t include food in its low nightly price of £38, but with such great-value rooms, you can afford to venture out to the nextdoor Hip Strip neighbourhood – the bustling tourist centre of the city, where some of the best-value drinks and meals can be found.

Meal in a local restaurant: £4

Meal in a fancy restaurant: £18

Local beer: £1.50

Taxis: £5 per km

Budget hotel: £30 per night

Midrange hotel: £40-80 per night

All prices and details are correct as of 16 June 2022 and are subject to change and availability.

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