7 Cheap Travel Destinations

…the Best Countries for South Africans to Visit Right Now!

Whether it’s visa issues or the cost of flights, travelling as a South African can be complicated and expensive and is not always an easy undertaking for the average South African. But if you choose the right place, you get it all – the adventure, the food, the experiences – without spending outrageous amounts of money.

These are 7 of our favourite holiday destinations right now that really are cheap to travel to.

Thailand

Thailand is all the rage right now because it’s beautiful, interesting, and cheap.

It is a country of wild, intense cities that never seem to stop moving and rainforest where the air is still and nothing seems to move. From the serene north to the chaotic south, Thailand is a country of incredible food, beaches, and experience.

It is also one of the cheapest places for South Africans to travel to.

Visa: South Africans don’t need a visa to travel to Thailand for up to 30 days so that cuts costs down even further.

Accommodation: Hostels go for as little as R60 for one person per night, hotels range from about R500 for a nice mid-range hotel to about R1500 for a 5-star hotel room overlooking the city. There are tons of great places to stay in Thailand, so not spending too much on accommodation is easy.

Meal: Restaurants can be anything between R450 and R800, or about R1500 for a 5-star experience. For fast food on the go, street food, and lower-end chain restaurants, you are looking at between R15 and R120 for a meal.

Drinks: Beer ranges between R30 in a regular bar to about R60 in a club. An average bottle of wine in a restaurant is about R300 and a glass of wine is about R70

Read our latest blog post on Bangkok, The City Of Angels.

Italy

Italy is a dream destination for most travellers.

It doesn’t really get better than spending a holiday eating real Italian pizza in a little pizzeria overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Naples or wandering through the ancient streets of Rome in search of legendary art and architecture.

Travel during the off season and you can get your Italian holiday on and not spend a small fortune.

Visa: A Schengen visa currently costs about R1000 for South Africans.

Accommodation: Accommodation in Italy is plentiful and ranges between R200 for a bed in a hostel and R500 for a room in a guest house to about R600 for an apartment and R1000 for a room in a nice hotel.

Meal: You can find street food for R100 or have a good meal at a decent restaurant in Rome for about R200. How much you spend on food depends on which part of Italy you are in, but little pizzerias and smaller restaurants are generally cheaper.

Drinks: A glass of wine is about R80 and a bottle of wine averages between R130 and R170 in a restaurant. A large beer goes for about R65.

Turkey

Turkey is one of the cheapest travel destinations right now.

It is the crossroads between Europe and Asia, where continents and cultures collide, but still new on the radar of travellers, which is why it’s relatively inexpensive to travel to right now. But as more of them experience this fascinating Middle Eastern country and fall in love with its food, people, and surreal landscapes, the more expensive it will get.

Travelling to Turkey is cheap and guaranteed to be an experience you will never forget.

Visa: South Africans need to apply for a tourist visa online, but it doesn’t cost anything.

Accommodation: One of the best things about travelling to Turkey is accommodation. No two hostels and hotels are the same and it’s one of the things that make the country so interesting. Hostels start from about R150, or you can find a nice room in a good hotel from about R300.

Meal: A meal in an inexpensive restaurant is about R80 and R130 for a mid-range restaurant. The street food in Turkey is known for being incredible and cheaper than eating out at the restaurants.

Drinks: A bottle of wine can range between R80 to R200 in restaurants and you can get a beer for about R50.

Romania

Romania is one of the oddball countries in Europe.

It is a country of Medieval cities and towns with winding streets and bright crooked walls that inspired the legend of Dracula and that feel like something out of a fairytale. It is a country where you can literally watch fire seeping through the earth in Buzău and go to a futuristic amusement park underground in Turda. But its strangeness is what seduces you.

Romania is also one of the few countries in Europe that is actually cheap to travel to.

Visa: South Africans can travel to Romania on an existing Schengen visa, otherwise a short-stay visa is about R1000 and a long-stay visa is about R2000.

Accommodation: You can rent a nice studio apartment for R500 a night, stay in a hostel in the city or guesthouse in the countryside for R150, or get a room in a city hotel for R600 a night.

Meal: An average meal from a fast food place is about R70, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant is about R115, and a three-course dinner at a nice restaurant is about R200.

Drinks: You can get a bottle of wine for R70, a beer for R30, and a cup of coffee for R30.

Hungary

If you have ever dreamed about wandering through fields of sunflowers and strolling through old European towns, Hungary is the place you’ve been dreaming about.

Hungary is home to Budapest, one of the coolest cities in the world, and beautiful countryside villages like Hollókő where old Hungarian traditions live on. Holidaying in Hungary is all about enjoying good wine, marvelling at gorgeous architecture, and treating yourself at thermal spas.

Hungary is also known for being the best value for money country in Europe.

Visa: You will need a Schengen visa.

Accommodation: You can easily find a hostel in Budapest for about R100, an apartment or hotel room for about R600, or stay in a luxury 5-star hotel for about R1000 a night.

Meal: You can have a great three-course dinner at a nice restaurant for about R250 for one person, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant for about R100, and find fast, easy food for about R75.

Drinks: Abeer goes for about R25, a cup of coffee for about R30, and a bottle of wine for about R70.

Portugal

The list of reasons why Portugal is an amazing place is long and its title as one of the best cheap travel destinations for South Africans is currently one of these reasons.

Whatever you are looking for in a holiday, you will find it on the exotic beaches of the Azores, in cosy little candlelit restaurants in Porto, and on the cobblestone streets of Lisbon. Portugal is known for its sensational food, wine, music, and culture.

Visa: You will need to get a Schengen visa.

Accommodation: You can stay in a guest house for R500 a night, a decent hotel for R600, or a one-bedroom apartment for R1000. The average price of a hostel is R150 a night. If you are staying in the Algarve region, you can rent out your own villa for R1000 a night.

Meal: In Lisbon, you will pay about R125 for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant, R250 for a three-course meal, and about R60 for a meal from a fast-food joint.

Drinks: A 500ml beer is about R35 and imported beer costs about R40. A cup of coffee is less than R30 and you can get an average bottle of wine for R70.

Russia

There is no place in the world like Russia.

It is a country famous for its magnificent history, architecture, and art, and for only becoming accessible to South Africans now. Russia is a mysterious and intriguing country with incredible places to see, things to eat, and experiences to have (if you can handle the bluntness of the country).

It is also visa free for South Africans and flights for less than R8000, which makes it an even more alluring and cheap holiday destination.

Visa: South Africans don’t need a visa for Russia, so you don’t have to spend anything here.

Accommodation: You can rent out a really nice apartment in Moscow for R1000 a night, stay in a hostel for less than R100, and rent a room in a hotel or guest house for R500.

Meal: The average cost of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant is R130 or R300 for a three-course dinner at a nice restaurant. A meal from a fast-food restaurant goes for about R70.

Drinks: A beer costs about R35, a cup of coffee is R35, and a decent bottle of wine will set you back about R120.

Note: Prices were correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.

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