6 of the most affordable places to go in 2021

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Everyone likes to see their hard-earned cash going as far as possible and, by savvily choosing a holiday destination based on its affordability, you're giving yourself a great head start when it comes to finding that budget-friendly break.

Beach on the Caribbean Sea, Cancun © Javarman - Adobe Stock Image
Beach on the Caribbean Sea, Cancun © Javarman - Adobe Stock Image

To help you on this cost-conscious quest, Post Office Travel Money has once more released its annual Holiday Money Report, revealing good news about some of our favourite places to go on holiday.

  1. Cancun, Mexico
  2. Orlando, Florida, USA
  3. Sunny Beach, Bulgaria
  4. Marmaris, Turkey
  5. Bali, Indonesia
  6. Cape Town, South Africa

In a nutshell...

The report shows that, yet again, holidaymakers are likely to fork out less money on daily essentials in popular beach and city destinations.

By comparing the average cost of eight everyday items, such as alcoholic drinks and suncream, across 46 destinations, the report found that prices have fallen in over 75% of the destinations surveyed.

Here, we look at six of the most affordable places to go from this year's report, comparing the price of a beer in each (a good, solid indicator, we feel!) and sharing the most important aspect of when to go for the very best weather.

1.Cancun, Mexico

  • Best time to go: February
  • Flight time: 10 hours 30 minutes direct
  • Time difference: GMT -5

Hands up who's surprised Cancun, Mexico's leading beach destination, topped the affordable list in the Caribbean? Known for its luxury resorts and beautiful beaches it isn't necessarily the first place that springs to mind when considering a budget break.

However, as the report shows, Cancun is indeed the place for a great value Caribbean escape. With a beer coming in at an average of £1.71 and other essentials such as anti-mozzie spray at £5.69, it's a wonder all flights to the island aren't now fully booked.

Especially when you consider that the weather in Cancun is delicious almost all year-round. It's certainly drier and less humid from November to April but you can still enjoy a sunny break to these shores outwith the peak winter sun season.

Weather in Cancun

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2. Orlando, USA

  • Best time to go: March & April
  • Flight time: 9 hours 30 minutes direct
  • Time difference: GMT -5

Owing to its position in the upper echelons of theme-park society, Orlando is rarely considered a cheap place to holiday. However, if you watch how and where you spend your money, this report proves it can be enjoyed without breaking the bank.

The most affordable places to go in 2021 © Experience Kissimmee - Flickr Creative Commons
The most affordable places to go in 2021 © Experience Kissimmee - Flickr Creative Commons

Sticking with our beer comparison, it's not the cheapest place to buy your booze: a bottle of hoppy goodness will set you back £3.68 in Orlando - close to the £3.43 mark found in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic but cheaper than £4.92 in New York, USA.

Saving for a trip to Orlando? Book your park tickets in advance with the likes of FloridaTix to cut the cost of entry and scoop any benefits such as queue-jump and meal deals.

Without a doubt, the way to make a holiday to Orlando financially viable is to look beyond expensive resorts and theme parks for meals and drinks. That's not to say you can't still experience big hitters such as Universal Studios and Walt Disney World; it's just a question of doing your research and perhaps self-catering where possible.

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3. Sunny Beach, Bulgaria

  • Best time to go: July
  • Flight time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Time difference: UK time +2

The aptly-named retreat of Sunny Beach in eastern Bulgaria takes the lead again as the most affordable place to emerge from the report - not just in Europe but worldwide.

This sliver of golden sand along the western shore of the Black Sea has long attracted domestic tourists and those from neighbouring nations. In recent years, however, its affordability has turned the heads of UK holidaymakers, which is perhaps why its place in the report is less surprising than others.

The beautiful shores of Blue Flag-winning Sunny Beach, Bulgaria © Happyna - Wikimedia Commons
The beautiful shores of Blue Flag-winning Sunny Beach, Bulgaria © Happyna - Wikimedia Commons

You can expect all the usual beach resort facilities, from water sports and serviced beaches to an ample selection of accommodation. The weather is particularly good in summer with hot, sunny days, and all-around wallet-friendly goods - with beer averaging out at £0.47, it's easy to see why it's such a crowd-pleaser.

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4. Marmaris, Turkey

The resorts dotted along Turkey's famed Mediterranean coast have been at the mercy of political instability in recent years. But it's time to put Turkey back on the map - and not just because it's an incredibly affordable place to go!

The report, which places historic Marmaris second in its Europe category, indicates that yet again, the price of a beer is not always the marker of an affordable destination: sitting at £1.88, it's affordable but not the cheapest for a bottle of beer in the group.

However, the collective basket total for all goods surveyed makes for pleasing reading, totalling £37.19 compared with £91.09 for equivalent items in holiday-hotspot Corfu, Greece.

Add to this the many attractions (think national parks, beautiful beaches, water parks and ancient sites), range of holiday deals and offers to the region and its wonderful summer weather that lasts longer than almost anywhere else within such easy reach of the UK, and you quickly see why Marmaris has all the ingredients for a great value holiday.

Weather in Marmaris

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5. Bali, Indonesia

  • Best time to go: July & August
  • Flight time: 18 hours (no direct flights from UK)
  • Time difference: GMT +8

What was once considered to be the preserve of hippies and travellers emerged as a sophisticated and stylish destination with hotels and spas to match. As such, Bali slipped from being truly budget, however, as the report shows, prices have levelled off and while getting there still remains pricey, on the ground the cost of holidaying is affordable.

It pips the likes of Penang, Malaysia, and Dubai, UAE to the post. While you can buy a beer in Penang for around £3.37 and Dubai for a whopping £6.78, in Bali this average drops to £2.60.

As for visiting Bali, it's a sun-worshipping nature-lover's dream. From the crashing waves perfect for surfing to the world-class coral reef and abundance of marine life including turtles, Bali's coast, seaside and beaches are its biggest draw.

Throw in the traditional Balinese architecture, wildlife, rainforests, temples, rice paddies, rolling plantations and widespread wellness treatments on offer, and suddenly the idea of planning a trip to affordable Bali is a no-brainer.

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6. Cape Town, South Africa

The seaside city of Cape Town in South Africa came second out of 17 places surveyed across Africa, Asia and Oceania.

This put it ahead of continental companion Mombasa, Kenya, which came sixth, and miles ahead of pricey Dubai, UAE where a beer will, on average, set you back around £6.78 versus £1.84 in Cape Town.

Dining al fresco in Franschhoek, Cape Town, South Africa - photo courtesy of South African Tourism
Dining al fresco in Franschhoek, Cape Town, South Africa - photo courtesy of South African Tourism

Cape Town charms all who visit with its eclectic city break offering. You can see historic sights such as Robben Island, sample everything from fine to hipster dining.

Scale Table Mountain in the morning before heading off to explore the rugged coastline and national parks, count the penguins at Boulders Beach, and sip fine wine in nearby vineyards - there's truly a little bit of everything for everyone.

Weather in Cape Town

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Top 6 in the Americas & Caribbean

  1. Cancun, Mexico: £69.14
  2. Orlando, USA: £74.11
  3. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic: £75.82
  4. Montego Bay, Jamaica: £75.91
  5. Tamarindo, Costa Rica: £80.41
  6. Toronto, Canada: £88.65

Top 6 in Europe

  1. Sunny Beach, Bulgaria: £27.71
  2. Marmaris, Turkey: £37.19
  3. Algarve, Portugal: £44.13
  4. Prague, Czech Republic: £57.39
  5. Costa del Sol, Spain: £57.96
  6. Funchal, Madeira: £62.11

Top 6 in Africa, Asia & Oceania

  1. Bali, Indonesia: £55.01
  2. Cape Town, South Africa: £55.70
  3. Hoi An, Vietnam: £58.39
  4. Colombo, Sri Lanka: £58.99
  5. Tokyo, Japan: £65.62
  6. Mombasa, Kenya: £66.43

The above listings are taken from the Post Office Travel Money's 2021 Holiday Money Report, which was published in May 2021.

Ready to put these findings to the test? Browse the very latest deals on holidays, flights, accommodation, car hire and more with leading travel providers to get away for less in 2021/2022.

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Kirsten Henton

Kirsten Henton
Article updated on Wednesday 16th June 2021 in: Beach Family Money saving tips Summer Winter sun

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