Determined to take a break, but not wanting to break the bank in turn? We’ve done the hard work for you. Here, in alphabetical order, is our list of top destinations to visit from the UAE if you’re on a shoestring budget:
It might not be on everyone’s to-do list but Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, is now easily accessible via budget flights from the Middle East. The city offers fascinating insights into a part of Europe that has long been hidden, at terrific prices. Have a traditional mud bath or laze in the sun by the Caspian Sea- while smugly thinking of your wallet.
One of the most popular destinations for Middle East travellers in search of trendy urban fun with a bit of street edge, the Lebanese capital also offers fantastic cultural experiences. The street food is delicious, and extremely good value. Many of the art galleries are free, and it’s a delight to stroll by the sea and people-watch along the Corniche.
A cultural experience in Qatar’s capital need not cost the earth: you can visit the Museum of Islamic Art free of charge. There are good bargains to be found, and great street food to be tasted at the Souq Waqif.
Once you’ve managed to bag a budget flight, you’ll be overwhelmed by the natural beauty of Ethiopia, with the Simien Mountains (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the surreal, hot, geological marvel that is the Danakil Depression.
With a bit of careful searching for budget flights, the beaches of Goa are within reach for just a couple of hundred dollars. Once there, you can live like royalty for very little money, renting a cabana on the beach, eating in local restaurants and partying the nights away with like-minded revellers.
With cheap flights to Amman, you’ll be able to visit the newly-opened Jordan Museum, as well as a host of other museums, most of which offer free entry. Of course, the ancient city of Petra is the country’s top attraction, and can easily be visited on a budget.
There’s plenty to see and do in Bahrain’s capital, even for the budget conscious traveller. Top spots that cost next to nothing range from the Great Mosque, to the Bahrain National Museum, to the Al Areen Wildlife Park.
Oman can be reached by car or within an hour’s flight from the UAE, and has much to offer budget-conscious tourists. Muscat is perfectly located between mountains and sea, offering markets, cafes and the famous Qaboos mosque. The Mussandam peninsula offers stunning coastline views, with scuba diving, fishing and dolphin or turtle spotting. There’s something for everyone.
Clever bargain hunters can get a flight via a low-cost airline to Colombo for under 250 dollars. And that’s the biggest expense in a fabulously wallet-friendly destination. Enjoy the gorgeous beaches along the coast near the capital, or jump on a local bus to the mountainous region of Kandy, where you can pick up some delicious Sri Lankan tea for a few cents.
There’s fun aplenty to be had in these destinations, where even a shoestring budget can stretch a long, long way. With some careful planning and money management, living within your means doesn’t have to mean living within geographical boundaries. Happy travels!