Are you ready to turn your travel dreams into a reality? You may think that “bucket list” trips are only reserved for the wealthiest of travelers, but in this article, I will show you how you can experience some of the most incredible destinations without breaking the bank. From visiting during the off-season to prioritizing affordable accommodations, I have compiled a list of 5 destinations that are not only doable but also unforgettable.
The Maldives are known for their overwater bungalows, but they’re often considered out of reach for budget travelers. However, with the travel industry recovering post-pandemic, incredible deals are currently available to visit these picturesque destinations. Several five-star resorts offer overwater bungalows for around 300 USD per night during the off-season, which is significantly less than pre-pandemic rates. Additionally, there are many other activities to enjoy while you’re not relaxing in your villa, including outdoor adventures and cultural experiences. From snorkelling and scuba diving to jet skiing and fishing, there is no shortage of entertainment..
Malaysia Southeast Asia adventure
Next up is a Southeast Asia adventure without breaking the bank. While Thailand may be the go-to destination, nearby Malaysia has equally stunning attractions at a fraction of the cost, with best prices during September.
Start in Kuala Lumpur, a globally connected city with cultural attractions, innovative cuisine, and lively nightlife, where even high-end hotels like the five-star JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur are affordable, starting at just $92 per night in September 2023.
From there, make your way to Taman Negara National Park to spot some of the 200-plus species that call the rainforest home. Accommodations start at just over $100 per night,
And from the rainforest, head straight to the stunning vistas of the Andaman Sea on the island of Langkawi. Stay at the luxurious St. Regis Langkawi for just $375 per night during September 2023.
Discover the Wonders of the Nile
Egypt is a country steeped in history and culture, with iconic sites like the Pyramids of Giza and the Valley of the Kings.
Start your trip at Cairo, a city that never sleeps and offers exciting food, bustling markets, and interesting neighbourhoods. Stay at one of many five-star hotels in the city with prices starting from around $120USD or opt-in for one of the four-star hotels with prices starting from around 70USD. Take a quick 90-minute flight to Aswan, a popular departure point for Nile River cruises. Book one to Luxor to see how the river shaped society thousands of years ago. While in Aswan, make the day trip to Abu Simbel to witness the massive twin temples carved entirely from rock. When your cruise arrives in Luxor, take a few days to experience the city, which comprises major sites like the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Karnak, and the Temple of Hatshepsut. You can snag a room at the Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa, situated right on the banks of the Nile, for just about $200 per night.
Hop an hour-long flight to Marsa Alam to relax in the resort town on the Red Sea, which offers white-sand beaches, shipwrecks, walls, and reefs for diving, and a fun dining and nightlife scene. There’s a variety of beautiful beachfront resorts to choose from here, many of which are all-inclusive, and the prices start from less than 100 USD per night.
South Africa Big Five safari
Staying on the African continent, we move to South Africa for a Big Five safari. Many people think that exploring the incredible wildlife and landscapes of this beautiful country is only for the wealthy, but that’s not true. South Africa has a well-established park system that’s easy to navigate, which means you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a fancy lodge that takes care of everything for you.
To get started, fly into Johannesburg. From there, take a quick 45-minute connecting flight to Kruger National Park, one of South Africa’s largest game reserves where you can spot the famous “Big Five”.
Instead of staying at an expensive lodge inside the park, save money by booking a stay at a place like the just outside the park. You can score a four or five-night stay Deluxe for less than $1,000 total, including breakfast. With South Africa looking to attract tourists there are now quite a few accommodation options available around the park. From there, you can either rent a car for a self-drive safari or book the “Safari Driver” at the Kruger Gate Hotel for private tour.
As for your daily expenses you can average about 10 USD per meal at mid-range restaurant and in general prices being more than two times cheaper than US you can have a great time without breaking the bank.
Don’t miss the chance to witness the beauty of South Africa’s wildlife and landscapes, even on a budget. Start planning your safari adventure today!
Patagonia natural wonders
And the last but not least we have Patagonia natural wonders! With its vast size of almost 400,000 square miles, planning a trip to Patagonia can be overwhelming. But don’t worry, I got you covered. To make it more manageable, I suggest focusing on a specific sub-region, like the Argentine side.
Start your journey by flying into Buenos Aires, which has non-stop flights from multiple hubs. From there, take a three-hour flight to El Calafate, the gateway to Patagonian treasures like the Perito Moreno glacier. Stay at the Design Suites Calafate, where you can enjoy stunning views of Lago Argentino and get a studio room for just under $150 USD.
When you’re ready to explore, take the hotel shuttle to the center of El Calafate and head to the bus terminal. From there, you can take a Cal Tur bus to the entrance of Los Glaciares National Park, where you can book a round-trip transfer or opt for a guided tour, glacier trek, or scenic boat ride.
Cal Tur also runs buses to the small town of El Chaltén, where you can access some of the most popular hikes in Argentine Patagonia, including the Laguna de los Tres. Rest your head at Los Cerros del Chaltén Boutique Hotel for unforgettable views of the surrounding beauty.
While it’s always up for debate whether Argentine or Chilean Patagonia is better, we recommend starting with the Argentine side for its more established tourist infrastructure. So pack your bags and get ready to explore the natural wonders of Patagonia!
So if you’re looking for affordable yet unforgettable destinations to add to your travel bucket list, consider the Maldives, Malaysia, Egypt, and South Africa. By traveling during the off-season, prioritizing affordable accommodations, and booking your own activities, you can experience some of the world’s most incredible destinations without breaking the bank.