In this day and age, backpacking isn’t the only way to save a buck while travelling. This is the era of modern travel, people. What were once either backpack-to-save or full-on splurge destinations now have a happy in-between in the form of affordable hotels. With exotic package holidays, you’ll still be right in the thick of the action, but won’t have to share a bedroom with 10 strangers. Plus, with airport transfer and meals included, your holiday is practically sorted for you – if you want.
We’re not just talking European destinations, but far-flung getaways in the vibrant streets of Thailand, the beaches of Sri Lanka and the Costa Rican rainforests. Backpacking explorers will feel right at home. It’s safe to say you’ll never travel the same way again.
With cities and sites that can be as hectic as Thailand – we’re looking at you, Bangkok – you’re going to want a nice comfy pad to return to after a day out exploring the markets. Thailand is paved with temples and shrines, but fan out farther to the coast and you’ll find white sand beaches whose coastlines are carved with huge, mossy rock formations.
And because the fishing villages and plantations Thailand is famous for are never far off, staying in an all-inclusive spot in a city means you’ll still have your hand on the country’s metropolitan pulse but with more serene sections right at your fingertips.
Since the 1960s, Goa has been a hippy haven, attracting rogue travellers venturing out on the cheap. It’s also a mecca for trance music lovers, even inspiring its own breed of the genre known as Goa trance, found now across beach parties, festivals and dance clubs worldwide. In recent more years as the party scene has relaxed, Goa has also attracted more and more yoga enthusiasts.
One thing we love about Goa is that the beach huts and hotels here are stashed right up along the coastline, putting you right in the midst of the activity. You’ll still have access to all the same markets, cityscapes and beaches that make this vibrant spot so gorgeous, but with someone to change your bedsheets in the morning after a long night out.
Vietnam is the land of many faces – you’ve got endless rice paddies and rolling green landscapes on one end, and the towering skyscrapers of iconic cities like Ho Chi Minh City on the other. Holidays here are vast and varied, packed with endless bites of street food, adventures on motorbikes down narrow lanes and, of course, some pretty incredible beaches.
Backpacking through Vietnam was usually the preferred method of travel because it meant you could see both of the country’s faces in one go. Nowadays, with exotic package holidays like Thomson’s City Breaks, you can see multiple destinations of various flavours within Vietnam in just a single holiday. That's hotel and transportation sorted. Consider the game of package holidays sufficiently changed.
With rugged rainforests, volcanic peaks topped with wispy clouds and an incredible 5% of the world’s biodiversity contained within its borders, Costa Rica truly is something else. Once just a haven for backpackers, there are now luxury resorts dotted up and down the coastline. Staying here will get you prime real estate right along the beach.
Many of the activities in Costa Rica revolve around getting outdoors – ziplining through the rainforest, splashing around in the hot springs or hiking in the Arenal Volcano National Park. And while we love jumping headfirst into Costa Rica’s adventure scene, at the end of the day, a hotel room of your own will be a plush sight for sore eyes.
Sri Lanka flies way under the radar of holiday spots, and for that, we’re pretty grateful. National parks teeming with elephant herds, ancient UNESCO World Heritage Sites and wraparound windswept beaches are just part of the reason why this Asian island is so amazing. The Sri Lankan cuisine – especially the fresh tea – and the friendly locals help make up the rest.
We especially love all-inclusive hotels in Sri Lanka not only because they’re affordable, but because they offer just that little extra twinge of comfortability you won’t know you needed until it’s there. Drinking water that's safe for Brits, international cuisine and alcohol are hard to come by across Sri Lanka, but not at hotels. And when you want to branch out, convenient locations mean tuk-tuk rides won’t be necessary unless you want them.
You don’t need to spend your entire life savings to be comfortable on holiday – all you really need is the right package holiday that provides you with variety and independence.