Monday 21 October 2019

Top 10: Trips to stretch your euro

Budget breaks

A cable car over Dubrovnik, Croatia
A cable car over Dubrovnik, Croatia
Railay beach in Krabi, Thailand
Seljalandfoss, Iceland
Diving in Tulum, Mexico
Woman outside tent with Northern lights, Myvatn, Iceland
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow, Russia
A street in Algarve, Portugal

Nicola Brady

Nicola Brady has 10 destinations to make your euro go further.

1. Portugal

Ah, Portugal. We flock there in our droves each year to soak up the sun and breathe in the country's easy-going vibe. As a destination, it's easy on the wallet, too - restaurant prices offer great value, particularly for families. Albufeira is a hugely popular region, with plenty of regional airport options for flights into Faro. Get out into the hillside villages for an authentic experience away from the tourists, and try some local piri piri chicken. Yum!

How: Cassidy Travel currently has a five-night break in Albufeira from €193pp, all-inclusive, for departure on April 18.

See: cassidytravel.ie

2. Russia

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Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow, Russia

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow

There aren't many places where the euro is strong at the moment, but Russia is one of them. Right now, you'll get roughly 70 Roubles on the exchange. This time last year, the figure was 50, and in 2013, you were looking at 40. All of this means that there's never been a better time to visit the world's largest country. Head to Moscow to take in the city's iconic landmarks, and to get a taste of its seriously fast-paced nightlife.

How: ebookers.ie has a 3-night break in Moscow for €244pp, including breakfast. It also offers a Bonus+ points system, which gives you cash rewards when booking.

See: ebookers.ie

3. Tunisia

Tunisia has long been an ideal spot for a budget-friendly break in the sun. The flight time is short (only 3.5 hours) and you're practically guaranteed a hefty dose of summery weather. It's a country that offers a heady mix of Arabian culture with a touch of French influence, as well as white sandy beaches and desert locations you'll recognise from many a movie. But best of all? Packages are a steal.

How: Sunway has 7-night breaks from €249pp in April, based on B&B accommodation in a 2-star resort. Upgrade to a 3-star resort and you can get a week for €359, half-board.

See: sunway.ie

4. Croatia

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A cable car over Dubrovnik, Croatia

Cable car over Dubrovnik, Croatia

It may not be the bargain basement that it used to be, but Croatia still offers fantastic value in comparison to other European resorts. A beer will generally be around €2, and you can have a three-course slap up meal for under €20. Ryanair and Aer Lingus operate frequent flights in the summer, so prices tend to be competitive. Add in crumbling old towns, a gorgeous coastline and a lively bar scene, and you're onto a winner.

How: Budget Travel has 7 nights in Dubrovnik in 4-star apartments from €376pp, departing April 10.

See: budgettravel.ie

5. Sharm El Sheikh

Though the Department of Forgein Affairs is currently advising against all non-essential travel to Egypt, it lists the resorts of Sharm El Sheikh and the Red Sea as exceptions, provided you arrive and depart by air and don't leave the area. These restrictions mean that there are great bargains available for for all-inclusive, 'fly and flop' holidays.

How: Lowcostholidays.ie has 7 nights all-inclusive at the 4-star Falcon Hills Hotel from €429, on April 10.

See: lowcostholidays.ie

6. Brazil

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Best in the world: Brazil's Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa

Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa, Brazil

You're getting far more bang for your buck in Brazil at the moment, and you'd be hard pushed to find a more vibrant country to spend it in. The spotlight is still on Brazil following the World Cup, and it would be a good idea to get there before the 2016 Olympics, when prices will surely soar. Generally, you can grab a beer for around R$5 (€1.50), and a caipirinha cocktail will set you back about R$12 (€3.70).

How: You'll currently find return flights to Sao Paulo from €563 in June, with American Airlines on Skyscanner. Stick to the budget with a stay in a hostel - Hostelworld has a selection of funky places from just €19pp a night, for a private twin room.

See: skyscanner.ie, hostelworld.com

7. Thailand

Always a popular choice on the backpacker trail, Thailand has emerged as a great option for top-class resorts at low prices. Once on the ground, your euro goes a whole lot further than other destinations in the region (we're looking at you, Singapore!). Stick to street food and you'll get the tastiest dishes around, at the lowest prices. Pad Thai from a street vendor generally costs around 35 Baht (95c), for example. No trip is complete without an infamous Thai massage - an hour-long treatment will cost around 300 Baht (€8). Bargain bliss!

How: Tropical Sky has 7 nights in Phuket from €859pp, including flights from Dublin, between April and July.

See: tropicalsky.ie

8. Mexico

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Diving in Tulum, Mexico

Diving in Tulum, Mexico

Hopping on a long-haul flight may not seem like the best way to start a bargain holiday. But if you take into account the savings to be made on an all-inclusive break, an exotic destination like Mexico becomes a surprisingly feasible option. Similar to the Dominican Republic, Mexico offers fab value on long-haul packages with half and full-board right now. Honeymoon, anyone? With the stress of budgeting taken away, there won't be trouble in paradise.

How: At Independent Travel, we've got flights plus 7 nights at the 3-star Hotel Plaza Cozumel in Cancun from €923pp, based on a September 14 departure from Dublin.

See: travel.independent.ie

9. Vietnam

The intoxicating country of Vietnam is a traveller's paradise, with vibrant cities, enthralling landscapes and supremely tasty food. And once the flight is paid for, your daily expenses are cheap, thanks to the Dong (possibly the world's best - or worst - named currency). A little goes a long way here: you can find a beer for around 15,000 Dong (roughly 62c), and street food vendors serve up sizzling food at budget prices.

How: Trailfinders has a great package linking with G Adventures for a 14-night guided tour around Vietnam, including flights, internal travel, activities and some meals. Prices start at €1,579pps departing on July 4.

See: trailfinders.ie

10. Iceland

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Woman outside tent with Northern lights, Myvatn, Iceland

Northern Lights, Iceland

It's long been a notoriously expensive destination, so why is Iceland suddenly an affordable option? Since the financial crisis in 2008, the currency has been devalued and prices have generally decreased, though it's still far from a budget break. The biggest factor in our favour is the introduction of direct flights from Dublin with WOW Air. Now this uniquely beautiful country is just a couple of hours away, and for a bargain fare, too.

How: Flights with WOW Air currently start at €79.99, one-way.

See: wowair.ie

Book the best value packages with Independent Travel here.

Top Tip

Want to check your exchange rates on the hoof? Download a currency converter app like XE.com to your smartphone before you travel. It's free, and stores the latest updated rates, meaning it can work when the internet doesn't.

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