Savvy Brits abroad: Cheap trips that won’t cost the earth

By Natasha Culzac
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Desperate for a holiday but on limited funds? We've got some cheap holiday inspo that your bank balance will love.

Need to get away from it all, but don’t have an endless supply of pounds in your pocket? Join the club! Get savvy and take a look at alternative destinations that won’t break the bank - you’ll be surprised by how much of Europe is still pretty affordable!

Travel money specialists FairFX says that the cost of holidaying in 55 European cities has shot up since the 2016 Brexit referendum. For example, it’s now apparently £197 more expensive for a couple to visit Paris for a week, than it was 12 months ago. (Based on prices on Aug 2017).

However, there are plenty of other places around the continent offering exciting trips that are easy on your bank balance.

Well, where should we go instead?

That depends on what you fancy! We’ve got a round-up of some cheap destinations to explore:

City trips

Berlin

Despite being a major hub in Europe’s most economically-thriving country, Berlin still manages to walk the line between a capital city for the metropolitan elite and a grungy, hipster hangout. There are quite a number of memorial sites and museums that are free of charge, including the Berlin Wall Memorial, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Museum of Unheard Things. Other prominent museums offer free entry once a week or month. There’s also a free performance by the Berlin Philharmonic every Tuesday lunchtime, while a free wander around the former-Nazi-airport-now-park, Tempelhofer Feld, is an absolute must-do.

For cheap food, on almost every corner there’s a stall selling traditional German fast food, currywurst - basically sausage and chips! - and if you’re happy to rent an AirBnB room in someone’s flat you can get accommodation for as little as £25 a night. The Guardian has a great budget city guide here.


Rough cost for a one-week holiday for two people including flights: £800

Krakow

Like most of Eastern Europe, this southern Polish city is architecturally resplendent. Its beauty and historic significance means that there’s a lot to see and with its currency still being the Zloty, is quite an affordable destination for Brits on a budget. During the peak months, one of the city’s biggest attractions, Wawel Castle, offers free admission on Mondays between 9.30am-1pm (and on Sundays in the winter months). Take a stroll around the stunning Old Town before hopping on a city bike (it’s €0.75 for two hours) to explore the old Jewish Quarter. You can also visit to the UNESCO-registered Wieliczka Salt Mines, which costs just £13 and is accessible by public transport. If you eat Polish food, and drink the local alcohol, you’ll save bucketloads. A pint of Zywiec or Tyskie will set you back just over a quid. See this article for more tips.

Rough cost for a one-week holiday for two people including flights: £800

Beach breaks

Ukraine

Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, is supposed to be the most affordable European city to visit for Brits at the moment - and flights are cheap (Wizzair’s can go as low as £50 return!). A wonderful destination in its own right, if you can pull yourself away from its beauty and charm and fly south, you’ll be greeted by Odessa, the beachside city that offers everything and more for sun dwellers. According to MyWanderlust, a bed and umbrella on the beach, for the entire day, is just over £2. And according to Expetistan, a posh three-course dinner for two with wine in the expat area should still only come to £22. With average September temperatures reaching 29 degrees, slightly out of season might be a great time to sit on the popular Langeron Beach, while holiday apartments can go as low as £30 a night.

 

Rough cost for a one-week holiday for two people including flights: £700

 

Bulgaria

All along its Black Sea coast Bulgaria is blessed with a range of sandy beaches to suit all tastes. You can fly with no frills airline Wizz Air from London direct to the seaside resort of Varna and go from there. Don’t expect to be able to take a quick venture to the capital, Sofia, as it’s over the other side of the country.

Sunny Beach is the party town and is a 1.5hr drive from Varna. It offers water sports and a level of partying that would worry your mother. Hotel rooms and AirBnBs can go for as little as £25 per night.

If boozed-up 20-somethings is your idea of hell, Harmanite Beach, in all its blue-flag glory, offers calm waters for families, while according to The Culture Trip, Sinemorets is where the hipsters and bohemian youth head to.

 

Rough cost for a one-week holiday for two people including flights: £550

Countryside getaways

Ireland

Get the thrill of going off-grid by doing a roadtrip around Ireland. We forget that there’s so much to see on our doorstep, and if you’re able to live in very close quarters with your other half, or indeed a best mate, for a week, then renting a campervan and adventuring around the Emerald Isle might just be for you. Search for campervan rents near you. For example, for one week in October, Bunk Campers’ cheapest van costs £470 being picked up, from and returned to, Dublin. Split between two, that’ll be your entire accommodation sorted as well as your mode of transport. Petrol will obviously be costly, but if you can use the included gas hob to cook as many breakfasts and lunches as you can, it’ll keep costs down.

 

Ireland has some spectacular scenic routes to drive. Check out this list by the Telegraph.

 

Rough cost for a one-week holiday for two people including flights: £1,000

Top Takeaway

Don’t bankrupt yourself for a long weekend in Paris. Instead, think outside the box when it comes to holidaying - your wallet might be pleased and you may well stumble across a little-known gem untouched by hordes of tourists.

Have you made any wonderful cheap discoveries while on holiday recently? Any fantastic free museums or affordable things to do? Share your tips in the comments section below.

 

Author bio: Thanks to a journalistic career history and a childhood at Sylvia Young Theatre School, Natasha has her fingers in a few professional pies, doing her best impression of a model and actor as well as personal finance writer. Outside of work she compulsively watches BBC period dramas and constantly lies to herself that this year will be the year she learns French, once and for all.

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