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Top Five Budget Destinations for 2016

For those seeking a memorable holiday that won’t break the bank, in this piece we’ve selected 5 budget destinations for 2016. These fabulous locations offer value for money while ensuring you get some indulgent luxury on your holiday.

With some of the most affordable beach resorts in Europe, sun-kissed Bulgaria may not remain a well-kept secret for long. The famed resort town of Sunny Beach offers a hedonistic mix of nightlife, beachside restaurants and luxury resorts. It’s all available at half the cost of the more popular coastal hangouts of Spain, Greece and Italy. Aside from beachside bliss, visitors can travel further inland for adventurous pursuits from skiing to rock climbing and caving.

El Castillo @ Chichén Itzá
Travelling to a far flung paradise may seem like a costly option but the great value all-inclusive resorts of Mexico remain an exception. In the lively region of Cancun, you can stay in luxury without the price tag and there are plenty of nearby attractions to enjoy. Swim with dolphins at Mexico’s largest eco park, admire the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and scuba dive the crystal waters of the Caribbean Sea.

Whether you’re planning a family vacation or seeking a romantic retreat, Portugal’s rugged coast is guaranteed to impress. The Algarve is home to a selection of resorts with something to cater for all budgets. In a region famed for its endless days of sunshine, it’s a great choice for fans of the outdoors. Hiking the many coastal paths promises stunning scenery that won’t cost you a penny.

Few places in Europe offer the scenic beauty and romantic allure of the Greek Islands. Although you’ll be spoilt for choice, Corfu remains one of the more affordable options and there are plenty of secluded places to stay. San Stefanos on the north of the island remains quiet throughout much of the year and features hidden coves without the crowds of tourists. Alternatively, those who enjoy some nightlife should stay at the town of Kos where megaclubs regularly host international DJs.

Spain’s Costa Del Sol which translates to ‘Coast of the Sun’ is a holidaymaker’s haven. With scores of boutique hotels and sprawling resorts to choose from, prices remain competitive throughout much of the year. For an authentic taste of the region, travel to Estepona which has kept its traditional charm intact. The winding streets of this coastal town are home to stunning historical architecture and some of the best tapas restaurants in the region.

Travel to one of these destinations on your next adventure, save some money and create some lasting memories. A trip to any of these destinations can be organised quickly and easily online. Once you go, you’ll never look at budget holidays the same way again.

Images by Redeo and Μanu used under Creative Commons License.

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Recalling My First Trip

El Castillo (pyramidd of Kukulcán) in Chichén Itzá
Image via Wikipedia

April 29, 1974: My first trip – Merida, Yucatan

Each time I think about this trip, I’m amazed that it ever happened. Almost everything that could go wrong did.

I was teaching basic Spanish to 11 year old students in Jamaica when my school received an invitation to take part in a one week trip to Merida, Yucatan. We jumped at the opportunity.

Three students, another teacher and I decided to go. Several weeks before we were scheduled to leave, we sent our passports to the travel agency that was taking care of the arrangements and get us our visas. But when we arrived to pick them up, we discovered that our passports had been destroyed in a fire at the agency. No one had even bothered to inform us.

So while the other students were jetting off to Merida, we were stuck in a police station in Kingston reporting the loss of our travel documents. We would spend the next few days waiting for the police reports, taking new photos, completing new application forms, getting them notarized and resubmitting them to the passport office.

A few weeks later, the 5 of us, passports in hand, we were on our way. We spent 7 wonderful days in Merida.

I’m glad now that I kept a journal because the few photos I have of that trip are so grainy I can hardly make out our faces.

Here’s what I remember:

  • Twisting my ankle in my clogs on the slippery stairs at the hotel.
  • Going to the movies – why we decided to go to do that escapes me now. Saw La Bruja en Amor, Man with Icy Eyes, Red Devils.
  • Going to Progreso Beach, twice.
  • Roberto and Belgio telling me “Te amo” and falling over themselves to show me around.
  • Having liver and onions for breakfast several mornings at a diner near the hotel. I never liked liver but I really enjoyed the way the Mexicans made it, with lots of onions. I tried to make it the same way when  I returned home but it just wasn’t the same. I doubt I’ve eaten liver since.
  • Visiting Chichen Itza. The highlight of the trip
  • Hearing Love’s Theme by Barry White‘s Love Unlimited Orchestra everywhere. It was a big hit that year.
  • Being invited to the home of the owners of a small restaurant, sneaking away when we saw how drunk they were getting. (I wasn’t used to seeing people just sit around and drink.)
  • Being stranded. According to our itinerary, we were scheduled to leave on a 10:15 a.m flight to Montego Bay. We were up and ready at 7:45 a.m. but when we arrived at the airport here was no 10:15 flight and there wasn’t going to be another direct flight to Montego Bay for several days. We were stuck in Merida with little money left. Thankfully, the agency in Merida found us a connecting flight to Miami the next day and paid for us to stay one more night. (I think we all bunked in the same room.) The next morning, we were at the airport long before check-in time. Our flight on Pan American was the best part of the trip. I think we were the only ones on the flight and they fawned over us.

Looking back, I’m surprised we even made it to Merida and I laugh now at all the problems we had. But when I think of trip, I don’t think of any of that. I think of the ruins at Chichen Itza and how they sparked my interest in ancient cultures. Sometimes, I wish I had better photos but the memory of what I saw is etched forever into my brain.

What was your first trip like?

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