Each year, Lonely Planet releases a ‘Best in Travel’ list where the editors recommend their best destinations for the year ahead. The editors look at countries, cities and continents to see where the trends are expected to appear, but they also have the best value list – places which may not be the cheapest to travel to, but have an affordable cost of living once you get there. Let’s take a look at the Lonely Planet Best Value list for 2017.
Nepal has had a rough time recently, with catastrophic earthquakes and a fuel strike. It’s a good time to visit as your money will help the country get back on its feet, but your money will also go far here. You can go trekking, see exquisite wildlife and be welcomed by friendly locals who will be happy to help you. Many of the trekking lodges affected by the earthquake have now been rebuilt, so it’s easy to find budget accommodation. £1 will get you 135 Nepalese Rupee – you can expect to find a budget hotel room for £20 and eat a meal for £5.
You can fly to Nepal with Emirates.
The value of the Namibian dollar has been deflating against other currencies for a couple of years, but now is a great time for budget travellers to head to the country. You can go searching for wildlife in the Etosha National Park, surfing at the Sossusvlei Dunes or hike through the Fish River Canyon. For the cheapest flights possible, avoid December and January, as well as any other times where European/ South African children are on holiday from school. The best experience in Namibia – the clear sky in the day and the starry sky at night, is completely free!
You can fly to Namibia with British Airways – stopover in Cape Town before continuing via Air Namibia.
Monarch is just one of the budget airlines adding a route to Porto from next year. And with good reason too, as this city has it all: stunning vistas, excellent food and affordable accommodation. There’s also plenty to do: museums, a pebble beach, day trips to nearby vineyards and cute vintage trams to get around on. You simply have to try the Francesinha sandwich – made with a variety of meats and covered in cheese and sauce. Try Café Santiago, Rua Passos Manuel, 226, Porto for an authentic experience and don’t forget to wash it down with the obligatory Super Bock beer.
If you are anything like me, you might be shocked to see Venice on a list of ‘best value’ destinations. It’s long been known that this beautiful Italian city is expensive to visit, but that’s all changing thanks to AirBnB. You can rent an apartment from a local in a non-touristy neighbourhood and save money. Having access to a kitchen lets you make your own breakfast and possibly a packed lunch. You don’t need to factor in transport costs as you are staying in Venice, rather than Treviso or Mestre (areas which are usually recommended to budget travellers). Other tips for saving money? Avoid splashing out on a gondola, and see the Grand Canal from a purse-friendly water bus and eat Venetian tapas which is served at lunchtime and between 6-8pm.
Yes, Hungary’s shining star is Budapest, but right behind it is Debrecen. It’s the second-largest city in the country and very affordable. An influx of budget airlines such as Wizz Air are now flying from the UK to the city. There’s plenty of history to the city, as well as a thriving art scene and plenty of summer festivals. It’s also located on the edge of Hungary’s Eastern Plains, making it really easy to head out for a day trip to get a taste of traditional Hungary, from the cowboys to the wildlife.
Belize is close to Mexico and the Caribbean, so you can get a taste of three different destinations just by travelling to Central America. You can go diving and snorkelling and tour Mayan ruins, before visiting a Central American jungle. There is also a great street food scene which is ideal for budget travellers. You can fly to Belize via a short stop in Houston – the latter being a destination that Virgin Atlantic recently launched a route to.
Whether you head to the buzz of Marrakech, the newly renovated city of Tangier or the accessible area of Essaouira, Morocco is an incredible place to visit. It’s so close to Europe but it feels so far away in terms of the culture.Plenty of budget airlines now fly there, and not just to Marrakech either – Essaouira is a new destination for many airlines including Easyjet. The flights to Morocco take just over three hours, but you will arrive and feel as though you are in a whole other world – visit Marrakech’s main square of Djemaa morning, afternoon and night for a different experience each time.
2018 will see Russia take a turn in the spotlight for the FIFA World Cup, so now is the time to go. It’s a great choice for budget travellers (£1 to 75 Russian Ruble) providing you avoid the swish hotels of Moscow. Instead, visit St. Petersburg. If you simply must visit Moscow, get there using the railway – it’s much more affordable than flying. Russia is definitely the kind of destination which is pocket-friendly once you get there, but with airlines such as Easyjet offering budget options, you might be able to grab a bargain.
Bellarine Peninsula, Australia
Beautiful beaches and historic towns are the star attractions of this area of Victoria. There are new attractions cropping up all the time such as the Jack Rabbit Vineyard and the Flying Brick Cider Co. There is also a trail for cycling, snorkelling and surfing. Bellarine Peninsula has become known for its restaurant and wineries, which are well worth the 90-minute drive from Melbourne. The area is also just a ferry ride away from Mornington Peninsula – this location makes it an ideal stop for people who are planning to travel the Great Ocean Road.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, USA
You’re probably thinking ‘where?’ but Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a great area with natural beauty and picturesque towns to visit. It’s less crowded to visit because not a lot of people outside of the Midwest know about it, and that keeps accommodation prices low too. You’ll find beaches, lighthouses, forests, waterfalls and an achingly cool and casual atmosphere. Mackinac Island is car-free and is a particular highlight of the area with wonderfully unique little shops and magnificent views.
Check out Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017 lists here for travel inspiration.