Cheap alternatives to pricier dream destinations

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The key to travelling in retirement is getting the most bang for your buck, and that can mean looking for alternatives to often very pricey tourist hotspots.

While looking away from the obvious locations can save you money, it can come with other benefits as well, including avoiding the crowds.

Here are some of the best alternatives to some of the world’s most iconic destinations.

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
One of the most popular places in the world to visit would have to be these ancient ruins. The popularity of these pyramids means that entry fees are exorbitant.

However, around 20km south of Cairo you can visit the lesser-known pyramids of Saqqara and Dahshur and have a unique Egyptian experience. Not only is this cheaper but there are much shorter queues and you won’t be hassled by nearly as many hawkers trying to get you to buy their wares or ride their camels.

There is little question that the Maldives is one of the most beautiful places on earth, particularly if you are looking for white, sandy beaches and a relaxing holiday.

However, you can usually have that experience for at least a quarter of the price by heading across to Thailand. The islands of Ko Samui, Ko Pha-Ngan and Ko Phi Phi are every bit as spectacular as the Maldives and, if we are being completely honest, the food in Thailand is also streets ahead. Thailand’s attractive price does mean that there are more tourists there, than in the Maldives, but the savings are enormous.

African safari
Most people who want to go on safari head to South Africa, Kenya or Tanzania.

But if you want to save some serious money you should consider Botswana. Unlike many countries in Africa, it is politically stable and the Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve are public parks that are open all year. The prices are considerably lower and there are definitely fewer tourists, which provides you with the perfect chance to see the animals without them already being scared off by large groups.

What cheap alternative destinations would you recommend to fellow travellers?

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Written by Ben


Total Comments: 11
  1. 0

    Not every retiree is one of a couple and to travel solo can be expensive with the single supplement added, particularly cruises when the cost can almost double. No, I don’t want to share with a stranger. What are the places to travel solo without incurring the single supplement?

    • 0

      I feel your pain Irish. Fortunately more companies, including cruises are realising that singles are an increasing cohort worthy of attention. Keep looking because these deals do come up more often now. You may need to be a bit flexible with travel dates but if you are retired this may be easier than a person still working.

    • 0

      Irish, cheap package deals to China to accommodate solo travelers.

  2. 0

    Travel can be dirt cheap but what gets you is the greed of local businesses which control entry to many of the sites you want to see. The solution: avoid most of those and go for the experience. Cheap as chips unless you want to stay in first class hotels. Airbnb has its place in the world.
    My wife and I have been to places without equal. Some of these were the well known overpriced haunts which were also on many counts dives. Venice for example was a bitter disappointment to us and we were there for almost a week.
    Don’t tell me you can’t travel cheaply though. As avid skiers we’ve been in resorts where millionaires go and my most vivid memory is sitting in an American gondola with what appeared to be millionaires and at least one CEO discussing the merits of coffee machines with the only other plebeian other than myself. It was an interesting 12 minutes but the sort of thing we can all do if we step outside of conventional travel ideas and remove media advertising BS from the front of our minds.
    Happy travels. They’re the spice of life.

  3. 0

    I would suggest that if you substitute NZ south island for Switzerland or the Rocky Mountains you will get fantastic skiing at a fraction of the cost. Also they speak understandable English and drive on the same side of the road as we do.

  4. 0

    Keep an eye on Tripadeals offers. They include the plane fare.

  5. 0

    The biggest mistake many people make when travelling to tourist spots is to be guided by locals that are provided by tourist organisations, that take you to shops and restaurants or bars, we got caught recently when on a tour to Prague, we normally avoid these tourist traps, but on this occasion we were short on time, we were taken to a bar opposite the grim reaper clock to have a drink and watch the grim reaper coming out, 20 euros later, we realised we had been duped, you live and learn, we got a small beer and glass of wine, we did manage to go a few streets back later in the day and get the same except the beer was a large one and the cost was 5 euros. We travel to Europe almost every year, we stay in comfortable accommodation and eat and drink where the locals go, the experience is much better and you meet real locals in their environment, we still occasionally use local tourist companies and only ever book them when we get where we are going, we usually do some research before going. To give another example of a rip off, we were told by a couple who had visited St Marks Square in Venice and had been charged 18 euros for a coffee. Research as much as possible before you go anywhere.

    • 0

      The golden rule in Italy is that if you sit down for coffee, the price usually doubles. As for Piazza San Marco, if the music is playing AND you’re sitting, pick a number between 1 &10, then multiply by the expected coffee price.

      The locals know it, so you won’t see them fall for it.

  6. 0

    Irish try Evergreen tours/cruises. They don’t charge single supplement on some of their cruises. I toured with them in May (Amsterdam to Basel). Everything was included except drinks outside meal times. We paid for a drinks package to cover. I think there were additional tours you paid for, but we didn’t bother as there were plenty of included tours and activities. A small tip was made to local tour guides, but other that and the drinks package, we didn’t pay for anything else. Your cabin may only have a single bed. Pick up and drop offs to and from airports were included. Do some research or speak with a travel agent.

  7. 0

    Many thanks to those who have made suggestions to my query as a solo traveller. I will take thoughts into account when planning next overseas trip.

  8. 0

    I have recently enjoyed an NCL Baltic cruise where there are special singles cabins and lounge area with coffee, juice and snacks 24/7. No porthole, but quite acceptable single space.



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