Gifts have been given, enough food has been eaten to induce week-long stomach aches and budgets have been blown. And yet to really make the most of your holiday, you may still want to leave your comfort zone of your home and explore. Travelling doesnât have to cost you a yearâs salary. Essential Travel Magazine looks at ways you can travel smartly and cheaply, while having the time of your life.
Remember, travelling on a budget often requires an open mind and a sense of adventure. You have to be prepared to experience the ways that different cultures live. Ultimately, itâs the best way to experience the world.
One of the largest countries in both size and population, India is a hub of culture and diversity. It is also a favourable tourist destination with an extensive - albeit slightly chaotic - railway network, cheap accommodation and reasonably priced food. Visit the beaches in Goa, have an adventure in Indiaâs capital Delhi or experience the stunning city of Jaipur. India may be ideal for backpackers and budget travellers but that doesnât mean there arenât lots of places open to an adventure.
Flight: About Â£440
Accommodation: Â£2 - Â£5 or about Â£70 for monthly accommodation and food
Food: You can get a cheap meal at a restaurant for about Â£1 or a three course meal for two for Â£6
Travel: You can get a taxi or a bus for under Â£1
Tourist places: From between Â£2 and Â£4. You can get an all day tour of Delhi for two for under Â£5
Bordering on the Black Sea, Romaniaâs tourism industry has come up in leaps and bounds over the past few years. You can have the chance to indulge in their flourishing art scene while taking a train from the Danube River to the majestic, medieval town of Transylvania. If you want to take a step back in time, go and explore the famous painted monasteries in Bucovina. The natural country rich in cultural diversity has a little something for every traveller - and all at a reasonable cost.
Flight: About Â£120 (round trip)
Accommodation: Anywhere between Â£3 and Â£9
Food: Under a pound (for street snacks) about Â£1 to Â£3 for a budget sit down meal
Travel: Â£3 to Â£6
Tourist places: Free or between Â£1 to Â£4
A bubbling place of multiple cultures, Malaysia boasts Malay, Chinese and Indian influences along with remote tribes, intimidating granite peaks and orang-utans. The northern half of the peninsula is surrounded by mountainous regions and dense jungle. On the east side youâll find steep mountains encompassed by a coast littered with white sandy beaches. Combine beautiful scenery, a diverse culture and a cheap area and youâll get the makings of the perfect travel destination. Take in the Cameron Highlands or trek through Taman Negara, one of the oldest tropical rainforests in Malaysia.Flight: About Â£500 (round trip)
Accommodation: Â£10 for a budget hotel, Â£8 and upwards for a dorm or Â£30 for a private room.
Food: Â£1 for an inexpensive meal for one, or Â£9 for a three course meal for two
Travel: You can get a taxi or bus for under Â£1 per trip
Tourist places: About Â£160 for a full PADI tour or Â£6 for trekking.
Stay in a jungle lodge that offers a glimpse of the varied fauna and flora, take a nature trip deep into the heart of the Amazon, look on at active volcanoes and crater lakes or visit the coast with deserted beaches, mangroves and coastal lowlands. Sound impossible on a budget? In Ecuador getting all of these experiences on a budget is perfectly possible. Even if you feel like getting off land for a bit, you can look at the more than 50 cruises that Galapagos offers. Of course, you wouldnât be a tourist if you didnât visit La CompaÃ±Ãa, Quito (Church of the society of Jesus) a cathedral built in the 1600s. Or feast your eyes on one of the few equatorial glaciers in the world sitting on top of an active volcano called Cotopaxi.
Flight: Around Â£600 (round trip)
Accommodation: A basic budget hotel will cost you about Â£3 and a dorm room will cost about Â£6
Food: You can eat for as little as Â£2 per day (fruit is very cheap) or get a good meal for just over Â£1
Travel: Once again, you can get a taxi or bus for under Â£1
Tourist places: A ride on the Devilâs Nose train will cost just Â£6 while entrance to most museums cost about Â£4. A trip to Galapagos Islands will set you back about Â£800 for 10 days.
Step into a world of castles, chateaux, powerful families and numerous scandals. Or unravel the cultures of ancient cities and a deep-seated history. Located at the heart of Europe, this historical jewel moves from medieval to modern in a smooth, eloquent manner. Spa resorts, tiny towns and beautiful national parks are among the many positive qualities of Czech Republic. Charles Bridge is a must-see. It is the oldest bridge in Czech Republic and at night it is beautifully lit up with thousands of tiny lights. Also, you cannot pass up on the chance to visit Prague Castle, one of the largest castles in the world, and it can be seen from Charles Bridge!
Flight: You can get a flight for just over Â£200
Accommodation: You can get good accommodation from about Â£4
Food: Around Â£4 for lunch for one
Travel: It will cost you around Â£6 for a taxi but a 24 hour pass costs around Â£3.32
Tourist places: Around Â£3 for a visit to the museum or Â£4 for a hike.