They say change is as good as a holiday, so when it comes to planning your next holiday, why not mix things up? Around the world there are untouched cities waiting to be visited and brimming with the promise of a cheap and cheerful getaway. So say goodbye to the mundane and enjoy the road less travelled with our top five holiday swaps!
SWAP: New York City for Hong Kong
Hong Kong is affectionately known as the “Manhattan of Asia” and it’s not hard to see why. Its soaring skyline, dense population and constant buzz will take your breath away.
Sure, New York is the city that never sleeps, but it’s also the city that’s never cheap, while Hong Kong is a bargain hunter’s paradise.
The beauty of Hong Kong is that it seamlessly combines East and West.
You can shop till you drop, then wine and dine, much like you would in New York, before scratching your culture itch with a visit to Hong Kong’s numerous temples. Po Lin Monastery’s Tian Tan Buddha is a must.
Return flights to Hong Kong should be just under a thousand dollars and once you’re there, you can enjoy yourself on a shoestring.
SWAP: Thailand for Vietnam
Sick and tired of the bustle of Bangkok? Feel like you’re fed up with Phuket? Why not give Thailand a break this holiday season and lose yourself in Vietnam. It’s one of South East Asia’s hidden gems – a country of breathtaking beauty, not yet overrun by tourists.
Start your trip up North in Hanoi – truly one of the world’s greatest cities. On your way to Ho Chi Minh, it’s worth stopping by Sapa for a taste of the old world Vietnam. If you’re after a party then Nha Trang is the new Asian hot spot – a magnet for tourists. Finish up in Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon) – where you can visit the Vietnam War memorial, crawl through the famous Viet Cong tunnels as well as sample the local fare.
Return flights in peak season shouldn’t set you back more than $1200 dollars and domestic flights are cheap – don’t pay more than $100 to fly internally.
SWAP: Skiing in Switzerland for Skiing in India
It’s fair to assume that when most people think of India, they don’t think of skiing. While most of the country is hot, dusty and dry, India’s Himalaya Mountains are actually home to some of the best hidden slopes in the world. The powder professionals will tell you head to Gulmarg. It’s a city in Kashmir, about three hours by plane from Delhi.
Mount Apharwat is the star of the show and a daily ski pass will cost you about 30 Aussie dollars. Compare that to 150 Euro you pay on Switzerland’s St Moritz slopes and you should be booking your trip right now. Mount Apharwat also has the world’s highest ski lift, with the Gulmarg Gondola reaching a whopping 3979 metres about sea level.
A ride will set you back just seven dollars. If you’re a powder enthusiast who is saving pennies, then this is the holiday for you. Major airlines fly to Delhi daily.
SWAP: Brazil for Panama
Looking for a lazy Latin American holiday that won’t send you broke?
Welcome to Panama.
In the last few years Brazil has experienced a dramatic price hike and the cost of holidaying has been hit hard. Meanwhile, Panama has all the promise of Brazil, without the hefty price tag. Located in Central America, but with a distinct South American feel, Panama is a place to relax.
Island hopping is the hip thing to do. Head for Bocas del Toro, a cluster of islands thirty kilometres from the Costa Rican border. Time tends to stop running here as you immerse yourself in the Panama lifestyle – eat, sleep, swim, repeat.
History buffs should include a visit to the Panama Canal on their itinerary. The world’s most important shipping route is both visually spectacular and historically fascinating.
You can fly into Panama City – connecting via Los Angeles – with most major airlines. Flights may not come cheap – expect to pay around $2000 return – but accommodation and day to day costs will be a steal.
SWAP: Amalfi Coast (Italy) for Bay of Kotor (Montenegro)
In the South East of Europe, surrounded by its Balkan buddies, lies Montenegro – a playground for curious travellers. While the entire country is naturally beautiful, the Bay of Kotor is the place to be. World heritage listed, the Bay is a beautiful inlet, boxed in by the stunning Adriatic Sea. Italy’s Amalfi Coast may be undeniably idyllic, but Kotor is free from the hordes of tourists that can make Amalfi overwhelming. Historically a fishing village, Kotor is now a mix of boutique shops, bikini bodies and fine dining. Take a quick trip to coastal town Tivat – Montenegro’s pride and joy – and the beach days of Positano will seem a distant memory. Despite sharing the same currency as mainland Europe expect your dollar to travel further than it would in Spain, Italy or Greece.
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