With spring around the corner, Easter not far away and temperatures finally reaching double digits this week in the UK, “holidays” seem to be on everyone’s mind at the moment.
However, if you’re strapped for cash and thinking you might not be able to stretch
to that much-deserved getaway this year, then think again.
There are plenty of genuinely good value destinations out there right now and if you book flights early enough, you could bag a bargain. Here are our pick of the places that will give you plenty of pizazz for your pound, from classic timeshare favourite Portugal to long haul winter sun spot, South Africa.
Temperatures in parts of Morocco are as warm as the Canary Islands during winter, and spring and autumn are the best times to visit this country as it will feel like summer. Much more than just souks and spice markets, Morocco is tipped to be one of the world’s top surf spots for 2015 and it’s one of the top new golf destinations close to Europe, too.
The fishing town of Essaouira, two and a half hours’ drive from Marrakech is where the kite surfers head to, while further south near Agadir Taghazout is a surf hangout where the sun shines all year long. If you’re staying in a timeshare resort in Marrakech, don’t miss the chance to visit a local pottery, escape for a day at the beach or an argan tour around Essaouira, or book yourself in for a hammam-style massage. Prices are cheap in Morocco: a loaf of local bread costs about 10p and a week’s worth of local tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, onions and courgettes, for example, will cost you well under a fiver.
2) South Africa
Thanks to the currency rollercoaster, holidays in South Africa are more affordable than you’d think. Better still, this glorious country has plenty to offer everyone, whether you’re looking for budget wildlife adventures, cheap and cheerful seaside cafes, breathtaking beaches and free entry to many of the museums. If you have timeshare points, and have always wanted to use them towards something a bit different – a cruise, a vineyard-based holiday or a safari – this is place to book your next wildlife or wine-tasting holiday!
Wine buffs will love Franschoek and Stellenbosch, two main vineyard towns around Cape Town, where South Africa’s wineries tend to be located. Did you know that South African wines have their own “Wine of Origin” label and there are 60 appellations that fall within the WO accreditation system? The wine must be made from 100% local grapes cultivated in the designated area and “single vineyard” wines must come from a defined area of less than 5 hectares. Meanwhile, an “estate wine” can come from farms nearby, as long as they are farmed together and wine is produced on site.
One other thing that appeals about South Africa as a long haul destination is that there is no off-kilter, jet-lag inducing time difference, even though it’s a fair way from the UK.
China’s most famous coastal city is ever-friendly on the purse strings and there are plenty of budget boutique hotels, cheap (and delicious) street food, while strolling around this metropolis is our favourite way to take in the sights and sounds.
Incredibly, this tropical looking paradise isn’t just for luxe getaways. Instead, it’s one of the best value travel deals in the Pacific. With crystal clear waters, dream-like beaches and sweeping, lush green forests, you’ll be blown away by the scenic local beauty.
With backpacker-friendly beach bungalows and huts, reasonably-priced food and cheap transport links, Bali has long made a name for itself a budget conscious traveller’s dream. While you’re here, book yourself in for one of Bali’s famous spa treatments – they’re more price-friendly than you’d think – and enjoy the exotic rice paddies and looming volcanoes.
After the World Cup, everyone wanted to holiday in Brazil. However, Uruguay is a better-value travel option for those looking to holiday in the exciting South America. Here, you can expect sizzling steaks, a hip beach scene and sleepy, riverside towns.
Portugal’s Algarve is a fantastic, family-friendly destination that won’t hit your bank balance too much. It’s a wonderful region for sun and seaside holidays, while the capital of Lisbon is also a great city break for those on a budget and the train from Faro to Lisbon just takes around 2.5 hours and the train fares are surprisingly reasonable.
You can slice the Algarve coastline into three main parts – east, central and west, with the central part, around Albufeira, being the busiest, while the east is full of Portuguese character with working fishing towns like Olhao and Tavira worth seeing. Head west, towards Europe’s south-westerly tip at Cap St. Vincent and surf favourite Sagres, and your next stop across the water would be…the States! The Portuguese speak excellent English generally, so if languages are not your thing, you’ll find it easy to get around here.
Taipei in Taiwan is far cheaper than Hong Kong, Seoul or Tokyo, and dorm beds, homestays and camping all bring hotel costs right down. Admission to many of the spectacularly colourful temples is cheap, while major museums are affordable. Meanwhile, when it comes to eating, tuck into dumplings at a street stall, or you can even enjoy high-end fare at purse-friendly prices.
Well connected to some of Europe’s biggest budget airlines, Romania may not be the first place to spring to mind but it’s an interesting city break if you feel the need to escape the routine of daily life. Bucharest is well worth exploring, and try and get out to see the medieval villages – they really are “lost in time”.