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Back to Basics: 10 Budget Destinations

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Who said budget travel had to be boring? Stretch your dollars with these handpicked destinations.

Here are 10 places that are bank account friendly and still packed with adventure.


Don’t let an African adventure languish on your bucket list. At first glance, it’s the type of holiday that will set you back a pretty penny, but if you play it smart you could be heading into the wilds sooner than you think.

In comparison to the rest of Africa, South Africa has one major advantage that will keep your costs down and that is accessibility. In one flight from Sydney you will find yourself in Johannesburg and from there you are only a four-hour drive to Kruger National Park where you will have some of the best wildlife experiences of your life.

With elephants, rhinos, leopards, warthogs and giraffes, you’ll feel like you’ve landed in The Lion King and will tick that African adventure off your list in style, with memories that will last a lifetime.



A trip to Cambodia is like a trip back in time. Dirt roads wind through lush scenery, wooden stilt houses contain generations of families and ancient temples tower in the jungle just waiting to be discovered.

For the budget traveller, Cambodia is a dream. If you really

want to travel on a shoestring, backpacker hotels and guesthouses will set you back only a handful
of dollars a night. Want a little more luxury? Even a world-class resort set in manicured tropical gardens will cost a small fraction of what you will pay elsewhere in the world.

Once on the ground you can negotiate very cheap transport with the ever-enthusiastic tuk-tuk drivers, and food and drink are

a mere pittance by Western standards. From laidback beach resorts to Tomb Raider-style adventures and the war history of Phnom Penh, you won’t be let down by a Cambodian holiday.



When it comes to grassroots budget travel in Fiji, forget the sprawling resorts on the mainland and the over-priced island stays. Head out from Denarau to a more remote location, where locally-owned beach bures and swaying palms will win you over.

The Yasawa Islands are a chain of islands only accessible by boat. The Yasawa Flyer leaves daily and hops between the inhabited islands to deliver tourists to their secluded island holiday where
all the money spent goes directly back into the communities who live here.

This is a holiday for those who a tired of the mainstream. If you never want to see a resort buffet or swimming pool teeming with five-year-olds again, then a trip to the Yasawas is a must.


Until Qatar Airways announced direct flights to and from Canberra via Doha to the rest
of the world starting in 2017,
this was not a place on most travellers’ radars. That’s all about to change.

Doha has all the mystique of the Gulf region’s deserts, souks and dhows without the price tag of nearby neighbours Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

So if you’re looking for a budget-busting stopover that blends the old and the new worlds harmoniously, Doha should be
on high on your list for your 
next holiday.



To be a budget traveller and save those dollars you have to be savvy, and when it comes to travelling in Europe without haemorrhaging money, you have to be even more so.

The Czech Republic is one of the few places where your money will go further without compromising on all of the beauty and grandeur Europe has to offer. In fact, with its medieval old towns, hillside castles and UNESCO World Heritage sites, you may find more than you bargained for by stepping slightly off the well-worn tourist trail.



Americans have known the secret of Mexico’s stunning beaches, all inclusive resorts and dirt-cheap prices for as long as tourism has existed. It’s time for Australians to jump on the bandwagon and enjoy all Mexico has to offer (and save some money in the process).

If sprawling resorts, white sandy beaches and all-you-can-eat-and- drink are your style then you can’t go past the tourist hub of Cancun. Cancun is a smorgasbord for the holidaymaker and with everything pre-paid before you even depart, it’s an easy holiday to budget for.

If local flavours, low-key bungalows on the beach and a touch of Mayan history is more your style then Tulum is a must. Easily accessible from Cancun and situated on a stretch of beach that will forever be your new benchmark for beaches, Tulum
is for the traveller who wants beachfront bliss on a budget, with a little more local influence.



With over 62,000 hotel rooms located on the Las Vegas strip alone, Vegas can be one of the cheapest holidays you will have if you choose your timing carefully.

Leave the weekend to Americans when the influx of domestic tourists looking for a debaucherous few days pushes up hotel prices from Thursday till Sunday. As an international tourist you aren’t a slave to the weekend – a fact that will save you hundreds.

Monday til Wednesday will be your friend as you live it up in a hotel room overlooking the bright lights of the Vegas strip with a free bottle of vodka on check in, free upgrade to a spa room and free tickets to a show. Don’t fret, Vegas never sleeps and you won’t miss a thing by skipping the weekend and revelling in a mid-week getaway.



If white sandy beaches, deckchairs, cocktails on the sand and world-class diving—all at Asian holiday prices—sounds appealing then the island of Boracay in the Philippines (pictured above) should be the top of your list.

It may not have the popularity of Thailand, but based on how far your dollar will stretch and the standard of the beaches it definitely should.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, then prices with budget airline Cebu Pacific (who now fly from Sydney) should. Why not double your holiday fun and include a stopover in capital Manila on the way through?



Dreaming of a place where verdant mountains meet blue lakes and snow-capped peaks are bordered by lush green pastures? Slovenia is Europe’s hidden paradise.

It’s a place far enough off the tourist trail that you’ll be able to stretch your dollar further and experience more – and what holidaymaker doesn’t want that?

Travel to Ljubljana via train from Vienna and experience a vibrant city steeped in history. Head
to the mountains for dramatic scenery, or to Slovenia’s small

stretch of coastline, where orange rooftops contrast against the azure blue of the Adriatic.

Not only will you be completely absorbed in this beautiful country but your pocket will thank you for the detour.



Sri Lanka may appear as a small dot on the map in the Indian Ocean but the secrets it holds for the budget traveller are abundant.

Known for a more laidback pace than its nearby neighbour, India, for a small price you’ll have access to untamed wildlife, pristine beaches, an exciting cuisine, vibrant nightlife, a faded colonial past and scenery that will take your breath away.

Jump a small group tour for guided access to all Sri Lanka has to offer or base yourself in

Galle to experience the Dutch Colonial architecture in a tropical palm-lined beach setting.


This article originally appeared in Magazine: Back to Basics for Autumn 2017, available for free while stocks last. Find out more about Magazine here


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