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Best Budget Destinations For a Little Luxury
As the name of this blog suggests, I’m The Broke Backpacker and I am absolutely passionate about travelling as cheaply and efficiently as possible. I backpacked around India for a whole year living on just $10 a day and set out on an epic overland journey from the UK to Papua New Guinea with pretty much no money whatsoever.
However, even I will admit that sometimes all this sleeping in parks, living on bread and stealing napkins for toilet roll can get a bit much. Every now and then even Broke Backpackers need a little luxury in their lives.
Don’t look at luxury travel as a waste and excess, instead, look at it as a hard earned reward for those long hours you spent on rickety, sweaty Nepali busses. In fact, look at it as an investment – both in yourself because it will recharge your batteries, and in an investment in your love of travel because even the most passionate adventurer will eventually grow to hate the road after one too many nights slumming it in digs with bed bugs.
That said, some luxury is more accessible than others. In this post we are going to look at the best destinations for some affordable luxury!
Naturally, this rules out some premier destinations such as the Bahama’s and the Seychelles as their remote, inaccessibility means flights are costly and makes them just too expensive to reach.
Rome – Italy
The eternal city should be on absolutely everybody’s travel bucket list. There are thousands of years of human history paved into its street and etched into buildings. The food is delicious and the Romans themselves super stylish.
You may not know that Rome is also a great destination for some budget luxury and there are some very reasonably priced luxury hotels where you can base yourself throughout your stay. Finding a 5 Star Hotel in Rome to suit your tastes and budgets is just a matter of some careful searching.
St Marie Island – Madagascar
I am letting you in on a little secret here with this one…
St Marie is a tiny island paradise situated about 50km boat ride from the Malagasy mainland. To reach it takes a full day bus ride from Antananarivo to Ambodifotatra and then a few hours ferry crossing.
It is more than worth it though as this former pirate base is an unspoiled paradise at a bargain price. There are lush rainforests covering the island, coral beaches and beautiful weather 10 months of the year. In Ille St Marie you can rent a luxury beach shack for as little as €20 per night.
Madagascar itself isn’t exactly easy or cheap to reach and a return flight from Europe will routinely set you back €800 (although we found ours for €400). Therefore I would only really recommend this luxury break if you (1) fancy something truly amazing or (2) are already in Africa.
Bali – Indonesia
Little Bali has a little bit of something for everybody. Belching bogans head to Seminyak , hippy backpackers do Yoga in Canngu and for those in need of some luxury there is Uluwatu where you can rent a luxury treehouse, villa, beach house or 5 star hotel for under €100 per night.
Bali is backpacker heaven, it is a steaming tropic of sandy beaches, radical waves and ancient temples. The Balinese themselves are friendly and the local food very underrated. There is a reason Bali is so damned popular.
The Broke Backpacker founder Will Hatton will soon be opening his very first hostel in Bali. Whilst it won’t be luxury, it will be fun so you should defo call in for a beer!
The Algarve – Portugal
Portugal’s Algarve region has been a particular favourite with British sun-seekers since the 1960’s and continues to attract countless scores of holiday makers each year seeking out its pristine beaches and scorching summers.
Portugal is in the Euro-zone but is amongst the cheapest nations in it. Therefore on the ground costs are very reasonable and you can find coffee for €1.50, beer in a bar for €2 and a meal for 2 can come in for under €10. Flights can easily and cheaply be picked up from most European airports and because day to day costs are low.
Highlights of the Algarve are the striking cliffs of Cabo de Sau Vicente, The Ria Formada Natural Park and Lagos beach (thats the original Lagos).
Flanked by the wild Atlantic ocean, the Algarve is also a paradise for surfers who flock to test its waves. Even if you have never surfed before you should give it a go here. There are surf schools across the region catering for all abilities and all ages.
Dubai – UAE
Dubai has risen up from the desert sands like a mirage over the last few decades and fast established itself as the it destination in luxury tourism. The oil rich, business mecca is a place where people flock to make fortunes and then flaunt them.
Of course, there is opulence here to rival the ancient Sultans so you may think that Dubai’s luxury is simply beyond your budget. But here is the thing, comfort standards are so high here that even mid-range hotels would pass as high end ones in many parts of the world!
Dubai is best suited to short(ish) breaks so if you head out here for 2 to 3 nights you can have it large without breaking the bank.
Note that whilst Dubai is embracing western tourism, it still remains a conservative Islamic theocracy so be sure to educate yourself about local Dubai law and customs and make sure to respect them.
Isla Margarita – Venezuela
Hear me out, whilst Venezuela is indeed very dangerous right now, the offshore islands are been spared most of the problems the mainland is having. The Isla Margarita is considerably more affluent, secure and safer than the mainland and there is little of the crime, less shortages and no demonstrations. You only need to pass through Caracas airport to get here so unless the airport staff rob you, (which happens) you’ll be fine!
This is the Caribbean beach you were always dreaming of but with a Latin Twist. Another option isLos Roques where you can literally walk between the various islands through clear waters.
Because of the black market for USD, Venezuela is currently insanely cheap. Whilst the flights in may be pricey, once you arrive you will struggle to spend €20 per day even if you try your very hardest. Of course, some of you may question the morality of benefiting from a black market.
Freeborn Aiden. Senior Editor, resident travel insurance expert and 2nd longest-serving member of team Broke Backpacker. Can’t resist a colourful shirt, ideally one with no buttons. Rampant Psytrance addict and seriel cat fancier. Aiden recently realised that his entire reality is little more than a badly written 90’s sitcom.