The Best Bang-For-Your-Buck Destinations


Bucket List Worthy  

Is the low Canadian dollar making you reconsider this year’s vacation? It shouldn’t. It’s completely possible to have an unforgettable vacation in all areas of the world for an affordable price. Check out one of these great holiday destinations that won’t burn a hole through your wallet.



Courtesy Purple Scarf Girl

Portugal has all the charms of Western Europe for a fraction of the cost. Lisbon and Porto are chock-full of architectural gems, art galleries, museums and UNESCO sites – most of them with entrance fees less than $15. The Algarve region boasts beautiful beaches that rival the Caribbean, and the Duoro Valley is home to the world famous Port wine. Restaurant meals will still cost you a pretty penny, but you can find hotels for as little as $60 a night. Full day wine tours cost around $80.




Courtesy Budapest_Hungary

Known as the “Paris of the East”, Budapest is full of UNESCO World Heritage sites, foodie gems, a unique nightlife, and world-renowned Classical music. You can also indulge in thermal pools throughout the country that offer varying experiences ranging from authentic bathhouses from the Turkish era, elaborate Art Nouveau palace settings, and ultra-modern minimalist establishments. For nature-lovers, the northwest of the country boasts mountains, and the Great Plain in the east is dotted with lakes and rivers. You can snag yourself a hotel for as little as $30 a night, have a lavish meal for $20, and get access to tourist attractions for well under $10.




Courtesy Purple Scarf Girl

The South of Spain may be the most famous destination for exploring Moorish architecture, but you’ll find the very best of this decorative style in the place where it originated. Mosques, shrines, schools and royal palaces featuring intricate calligraphy and colourful tile work can be found scattered throughout the historic centres of cities and towns across Morocco. A stay at a richly decorated riad (a Moroccan style home with a centre courtyard) costs as little as $50 a night; street food is clean, delicious and plentiful for a few dollars a meal; and a full day of pampering at a spa will set you back $50.




Courtesy Visit Uganda

Kenya and South Africa may be the most popular destinations for wildlife lovers, but a safari experience in lesser-known Uganda can be much more affordable. Spot Mountain Gorillas, lions, elephants, leopards, cheetahs, monkeys and more as you make your way through this tiny yet geologically diverse country. A Gorilla safari will take you through the Virunga Mountains, – known as “the Switzerland of Africa” – lush bamboo forests, and beautiful lakes. On a “Big 5” safari you’ll be able to hike through waterfalls, and traverse the Nile while spotting lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, Cape buffalos, warthogs, giraffes, gazelles and cheetahs. Where a standard safari experience in Kenya or South Africa would cost upwards of $1,000, in Uganda you can find a similar package for a few hundred dollars.




Courtesy Hotels 365

Walk in the footsteps of Indiana Jones at Cambodia’s most famous fixture the Angkor Wat, laze around on the pristine white sand beaches of Sihanoukville, visit the Chong Khneas floating village, or go on a jungle trek in Koh Kong. There is an experience for every type of person packed into Southeast Asia’s most affordable country that’s tiny yet diverse. A luxury hotel won’t cost your more than $30 a night, street food is around $1 to $2 a meal, and world class restaurant dining will cost you around $12. Public transport costs pennies, or you can hire a driver for $15 a day.


Bali, Indonesia


Courtesy Bali Cilli

Spend your days pampering yourself at the spa and your nights kicking up your heels in Kuta, or head off the beaten track to explore Bali’s stunning countryside and pristine beaches. Whatever your mood, you can do it all on a budget in a place with friendly locals and a rich culture. Visit stunning temples in every city, relax in hot springs, go diving and snorkelling, or explore Balinese culture in Ubud made famous by Eat, Pray, Love. For under $20 a night you can stay in a beautiful guesthouse, and eat delicious street food for less than a $2 a meal. A taxi ride across the island won’t cost you more than $10, and activities like surfing or seeing a show won’t cost more than $40.




Courtesy Columbia Travel

No longer the unsafe destination it used to be, Colombia has recently become the new “it” place to visit in South America. Dive into the rich culture of Bogota and Cartegena, and get a lesson in history as you study archaeological finds in Tierradentro National Park. Laze on beaches, trek through mountains and explore the Amazon. Colombia is also home to some of the world’s best coffee, making a plantation visit an absolute must – especially when it can cost as little as $5. Indulging in a delicious local meal won’t cost more than $5, and you can expect to spend around $50 on a hotel.


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About the Author: Zebunnisa Mirza

Zebunnisa is a Toronto-based freelance travel writer addicted to cobblestone streets, fancy architecture, food, and sweeping natural vistas. Follow her adventures around the world @purplescarfgirl

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