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Where to go on a cheap holiday

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If you’re hoping to get away this year, our guide will help you discover the cheapest places to go on holiday and how to cut the cost of your trip.

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Woman sightseeing on holiday in Tallinn, Estonia
We found flights from the UK to here for less than a tenner

Holidays can be expensive, so if you’re looking to book an overseas break in the coming months, you’ll no doubt be searching for ways to keep costs to a minimum. 

Read on to learn about the top destinations for a cheap holiday abroad and our tips for cutting costs.

Which countries are the cheapest to fly to from the UK?

If you’re hoping to jet off somewhere soon, the table below highlights which countries are the cheapest to fly to from the UK, according to figures from Skyscanner. 

Bargain prices can be found from just £8 return.

DestinationExample return price
1Austria£8 (Liverpool to Vienna)
2Estonia£8 (Liverpool to Tallinn)
3Hungary£9 (London to Budapest)
4Croatia£9 (Newcastle to Zadar)
5Belgium£9 (Edinburgh to Brussels)
6Netherlands£9 (London to Eindhoven)
7Germany£9 (London to Bremen)
8Greece£9 (London to Corfu)
9Portugal£9 (Liverpool to Porto)
10Denmark£13 (Liverpool to Copenhagen)

Flights during March/April 2022

Make sure you get the best possible cover when you go away by comparing travel insurance deals. You can find the cover you need at the right price whatever your travel plans.

Which countries are the cheapest to live in?

Of course, flights aren’t the only expense you’ll need to consider. If you’re thinking of extending your stay, you might want to learn more about living costs in certain countries. 

Research by money transfer platform Wise has revealed the 10 cheapest countries to live in: 

  • Vietnam

  • Portugal

  • Mexico

  • Malaysia

  • South Africa

  • Indonesia 

  • Costa Rica

  • Ecuador

  • Bulgaria

  • Philippines

Factors such as the cost of living and lifestyle opportunities have been used to compile this list. 

Note that some countries offer even cheaper living costs but are less attractive due to practical and security reasons. 

All-inclusive break or accommodation only?

When planning a holiday, one of the decisions you’ll need to make is whether to book an all-inclusive resort holiday, or accommodation only.

All-inclusive breaks can be better for stress levels and your budget, as both your accommodation and all your food and drink costs (including alcohol) will already be catered for. Many all-inclusive resorts also offer a variety of activities included in the price of your trip.

In comparison, if you opt for accommodation only, whether that’s a hotel or a self-catering villa, you’ll need to pay extra for food and drink (breakfast may be included), and all your activities. 

The advantage of this is that you can pick and choose where you want to eat, you’ll have more flexibility and, if you’ve opted for self-catering, you can often save money as you won’t have to eat out every night. 

The downside is it’s harder to budget and your holiday might not be as relaxing if you’re cooking most nights.

Spending abroad can be costly, so make sure you compare the market for the best exchange rates available on your travel money before jetting off.

Weighing up the costs: An example

When it comes to working out the costs of all-inclusive breaks versus accommodation only, you’ll need to do your research as it tends to vary depending on location. 

Below is an example of a family of four planning a trip to the Algarve, Portugal.

  • Tui is offering seven nights all-inclusive at a four-star hotel from £384 per person, or £1,536 for four people.

  • In comparison, a seven-night stay in a four-star self-catering apartment is priced from £191 per person, or £764 for a family of four, including flights. 

  • When you add on the typical cost of a three-course family meal including wine/soft drinks in the Algarve (using figures from Post Office Travel Money), this comes to a total of £301.63 over seven nights, bringing the total self-catering cost to £1,065. That’s a saving of almost £500. 

  • Even though other food and drink expenses will need to be factored in, self-catering is still likely to be cheaper in this instance compared to all-inclusive.

Prices correct as of March 2022

How to find cheap places to stay

Follow the tips below to help you find cheap accommodation: 

Compare, compare, compare

The first step is to use a comparison site to look for the best prices. Look at sites such as Trivago, Booking.com and Hotels.com to compare hotels, apartments and villas. You can also compare hotels with Skyscanner and Kayak.

Think outside the box

As well as traditional options such as hotels and self-catering apartments, there are plenty of alternative accommodation types to consider. 

Hostels are dotted across the globe and can be ideal for those on a budget, offering dorms or even private and family rooms if you prefer. 

Host Unusual offers a wide range of quirkier accommodation types, including treehouses, yurts and lighthouses. Prices start from around £35 per night.

Consider a house swap

If you don’t mind someone else staying in your home while you’re away (think of the security benefits), you could consider a house swap. 

Sites such as Love Home Swap and HomeLink let you list your home and search for properties in destinations you’d like to visit. 

You can then make an offer to swap with someone and if they agree, simply book your stay. Note that a membership fee of around £10 a month will apply.

Use loyalty schemes

Many hotel chains offer free loyalty schemes where you earn points that can be exchanged for free stays. 

However, while it can take some time to accumulate enough points, many of these schemes also send special offers to members that can be worth taking advantage of. Take a look at Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy Rewards and Best Western Rewards

Alternatively, if you collect Tesco Clubcard points, these can be worth up to three times their value and can be redeemed on various hotel stays.

Could you save by going last minute?

Potentially. If you can be flexible on dates and your destination, it’s well worth keeping an eye out for last minute deals and sales on sites such as Lastminute.com and Holiday Pirates to see if you can bag a great holiday at a great price. 

Signing up to newsletters and sales emails means you’ll be able to snap up deals as soon as they become available. 

Top tips for a budget holiday

  • Travel out of season: If you’re able to travel at less popular times and avoid school holidays, your break will cost less

  • Avoid tourist traps: Try to choose less well-known destinations and pick accommodation and restaurants off the beaten track as they’ll be cheaper

  • Fly mid-week: Flying Tuesday to Thursday will cost you less compared to weekends - Mondays and Fridays tend to cost more, too

  • Choose the right way to pay: If you’re planning to spend on a credit card or debit card while you’re away, look for one that won’t charge foreign exchange fees. Compare travel credit cards

  • Get cashback: Check whether sites such as Topcashback and Quidco will give you cashback for booking through certain companies

  • Consider a package deal: Deals where your flights and accommodation are booked in one package are often cheaper than DIY holidays

Don’t forget travel insurance 

Travel insurance is an essential when you’re going on holiday. Without it you could be left out of pocket in the event you lose your luggage, fall ill or even if you have to cancel your trip. 

If you’re only planning one holiday this year, a single trip travel insurance policy will likely be your best option. 

But if you’re planning three or more trips, it’s usually cheaper to buy an annual multi-trip policy. Find out more in our guide to travel insurance.

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