Flight Centre shares the top 5 budget-friendly destinations for every South African traveller:
Ask most South Africans where they will go for a budget holiday and Thailand is probably the answer you will get.
For shopping that's affordable, it’s hard to beat the prices of a Thai market. Travellers can laze at the pool or beach by day and visit the destination's many markets at night.
They are an institution in Thailand and a must-see for their festive atmospheres. Go hungry, because you can very well eat your way through them all.
Some markets are more "touristy" than others, so ask your concierge or a local for their pick of when and where to go. Some markets have the best choice of clothing, while others are renowned for their food. Trading generally stops at 1am.
If you thought Thailand was a budget-friendly destination, you have to visit Vietnam.
Although Thailand remains especially rand-friendly, Vietnam is even more appealing for the budget-conscious. Accommodation rates are lower in Vietnam, especially if you head out of Ho Chi Minh City and the tourist centres.
The food is delicious and affordable. Start the day with an iced-coffee in Hanoi, take to the waters of Halong Bay on a boat cruise, and walk the streets of Hoi An at night to best appreciate the thousands of brightly lit colourful lanterns.
Hire a motorcycle for about R100 a day, but you'll need nerves of steel to drive in the busy streets of Vietnam’s major city centres. Head out into the countryside and explore daily life in rural Vietnam.
Heading to Portugal in the summertime is a stunning way to escape the winter.
Beat the somewhat scary exchange rate of the euro by choosing Portugal, one of Western Europe’s value for money destinations. The temperate Mediterranean climate makes it ideal to visit year-round, so if you’re travelling outside of the peak summer months, take advantage of off-peak season discounts.
Living costs in Portugal are much lower than many of its neighbouring cities, despite the currency, and it’s easy to combine the best of Portugal’s culture, city and the sea. Keep fit by walking up the seven hills of Lisbon to the famed miradouros (viewpoints) for amazing (and free) views over the city.
Wine and dine (don't leave without trying the country's award-winning port) on a boat cruise through the Unesco World Heritage-listed Douro Valley and soak up the sun on the beaches of the Algarve. You also can't miss a taste of pastel de nata at the famous Pastéis de Belém bakery in Lisbon.
More and more South Africans are choosing Zanzibar as their bucket list destination. The humid spice-tinged air of the Spice Island is perfect for honeymoons and romantic hideaways.
“Zanzibar is just a four-hour flight from Johannesburg and is visa-free for South Africans,” says Sue Garrett, GM of Marketing and Product at Flight Centre. “You will likely want to spend most of your time relaxing at your resort but set aside a day or two to explore the fascinating history and culture on the island. Walking around and photographing Unesco-listed Stonetown is another must-do.”
For a budget beach break in Africa, you really can’t go wrong. Booking an inclusive package including airfare, accommodation, transfers, breakfast or an all-inclusive option (including all meals and drinks) will get you the best deal on your holiday.
The Turkish coast by cruise
Fancy a cruising holiday where the only decisions you have to make are when to swim, nap or eat? That is no longer the choice for the rich and famous (at least, not in Turkey, that is). Although not precisely a yacht, an "entry-level" traditional Turkish-style gulet (a traditional sailing boat) is comfortable and gives you an even more authentic, true-to-the-destination sailing experience.
Groups can charter their private gulet complete with crew and meals, or join a set departure and make new friends. Calls to Bodrum, Marmaris, Gocek, Fethiye and Antalya are popular, as are the swim stops in the many hidden bays.
Fly direct from South Africa into Istanbul, arrange your free Turkish e-visa online, and you’ll be sailing off into the sunset in no time.