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Families on a budget need not fear – there are plenty of affordable places to relax and unwind. Here’s a rundown of the 15 very cheapest and very best destinations to book without breaking the bank.
With its reputation growing year on year, it’s best to head to Croatia now ahead of the crowds. The Adriatic coast boasts splendid architecture and unblemished beaches. For families, there are plenty of pleasant, affordable restaurants. There are also all manner of watersports on offer, including scuba diving, jet skis and boat rides.
Both beautiful and remarkably affordable when compared to the rest of Western Europe, Portugal has plenty to offer budget travelers. Although the country has famed tourist spots such as Lisbon and Porto, it’s easy to get off the beaten track to far cheaper destinations. The country is great for kids too; you’re never too far from a waterpark or a beach in Portugal. The affordable and excellent food and wine are another definite bonus.
It can be pretty expensive to stay on one of Greece’s most famous islands such as Santorini. But there are plenty of cheaper options out there if you’re prepared to look for them. Pick a smaller, quieter island such as Skiathos and you’ll end up paying a whole lot less. With gorgeous beaches, watersports and mouth-watering food, there are plenty of ways to entertain the family without doing too much damage to your wallet.
Much cheaper than southern Spain, Bulgaria boasts similar beaches, weather and accommodation. The country also has an impressive capital city packed with galleries and museums. Kids will enjoy making sandcastles along the shores of the Black Sea or taking to the slopes in some of Europe’s best value ski resorts.
The coastal city of Cape Town is the obvious highlight of this affordable and diverse African destination. The city boasts the fascinating Castle of Good Hope and visitors can easily venture out of the city to one of the many surrounding safari parks. South Africa is at its very cheapest during the low season which runs from November through March.
Mexico is bursting with life, and has established a reputation as a world-class travel destination. Yet for families on a budget, it’s advisable to stay out of the tourist hubs of Cancún and Tulum. The beautiful colonial city of Mérida, the capital of Yucatán state in Mexico, is a great alternative. This traditional refuge of Mayan culture, vibrant cuisine and gorgeous architecture is also close to the ruins of Chichén Itzá, a UNESCO World Heritage Center and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
As one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, Costa Rica is the ideal spot for nature loving families. The country boasts dozens of spectacular national parks that charge only a minimal entrance fee. Once inside, you and the family can get up close and personal with some extraordinary wildlife; including monkeys, sloths, parrots and iguanas.
Often overlooked, Ecuador boasts an amazing variety of attractions for all ages. From stunning hot springs at the Amazon basin, to the long white stretches of sand that line the country’s coast. Few hotels are particularly pricey, and domestic airlines make it possible to move around cheaply within the country.
Still a hidden gem of Latin America, Bolivia contains some extraordinary landscapes. The south boasts the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni, while the north features the breathtaking Valle de la Luna clay formations. One of Latin America’s least visited countries, adventurous families will find plenty to do in this stunning South American getaway. They will also discover that the country is one of the most affordable in the region.
The capital Buenos Aires is one of Latin America’s premier destinations, combining a fascinating architecture, culture and cuisine. Yet compared to European capitals such as Rome or Paris, the Argentine capital is relatively easy on the wallet. The vibrant, kid friendly culture is sure to keep family members of all ages entertained. You also won’t hear many complaints about the steak or ice cream.
Another excellent and affordable getaway is Cambodia. Koh Thonsáy, or Rabbit Island, off the southern coast is a barely-touched paradise. The family bungalows are a cozy (and cheap) place to stay and the isolated island offers sandy white beaches and splendid turquoise waters. Do be aware, you’ll be communing closely with nature – there is no internet and electricity is only available at night.
The tropical paradise of Bali has plenty to offer the budget-conscious family. Exciting potential activities include elephant riding, monkey feeding and swimming with dolphins. Kuta Beach is a splendid, unblemished stretch of sand where you can lay back as the kids take a splash. Indonesian food is tasty and healthy and costs a fraction of what you would expect to pay in next-door Singapore.
Thailand has a wealth of inexpensive vacation options but not many of them are particularly family-friendly. Ko Lanta, situated off the coast, is the country‘s best option for kids. The conservative social outlook on the island has prevented the emergence of the seedy nightlife you might encounter in Bangkok. The island has a range of great hotels and children can take part in a range of activities, including snorkeling and bike excursions.
Nepal is another great destination for families looking to vacation on the cheap. The stunning Himalayan country has extraordinary hiking opportunities and dense jungles that are home to all manner of exotic wildlife. The travel company Nepal Uncovered offers exciting family tours that include cave excursions, whitewater rafting and a safari in the Chitwan National Park.
The island archipelago of Sri Lanka off the coast of India boasts pristine natural beauty, excellent hotels and some of the friendliest locals you’ll ever encounter. Low-cost luxury is available for the entire family and there are plenty of things to see and do. Zip-lining and white-water rafting are increasingly popular but less adventurous beachside strolls are also an option.