Table Mountain traveller

2017 Holiday Inspiration – Cheap, Cool & Unusual

Travel January 20, 2017


Getting in ahead of the crowd not only feels great, it can lead to major financial gains too. Just ask anyone who bought Facebook shares a decade ago.

So we set ourselves the not unambitious target of seeing into the future and picking out destinations set to explode in 2017…

These places could feasibly cost you an arm and a leg in a few years (not feasibly, feasibly) but for now they are comparatively cheap.

Also, remember that a successful left-field destination pick will not only make you the envy of your friends when you get back, it will make for a more fulfilling experience when you’re there.

Intrepid bargain hunters, take heed.

Leipzig, Germany

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no parking

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Berlin has been one of Europe’s trendiest cities for a while and that fact alone should set alarm bells ringing.

Cool places don’t stay cool for long, that’s because students, musicians, and the likes get priced out by hiked rent and living costs. That old swine, gentrification.

But Leipzig hasn’t reached that point yet and the city is alive with creativity to contrast the industrial architecture. Enjoy inexpensive bars and coffee shops, walk the streets and dance in nightclubs based in old warehouses (unlike Berlin, you’ll actually get in).

Local blogger and Irish expat Dave Murphy explains in his Lost in Leipzig blog: “This city is a hidden gem practically unknown to people outside Germany. Think Berlin but more charming, better-looking and without the hype, queues or expensive rents.”

Kotor, Montenegro

It’s hard to thumb, or rather click, through any travel tip guides without coming across Dubrovnik in Croatia. The problem is, Croatia isn’t cheap anymore. So we suggest heading two hours down the coast to the similarly stunning but dissimilarly inexpensive, Kotor.

Renowned for its world heritage medieval structures, Kotor Bay is a feast for the eyes with fort-laden mountainsides and crystal blue waters. Sure, Kotor isn’t quite as fashionable as Dubrovnik but we’re here to start fashions not follow them. That’s why I’m currently typing in fingerless gloves.

Flights to Tivat Airport (8km away) started in 2016 from Manchester and Gatwick which makes everything easier.

Travel blogger Kate summed up the town beautifully: “If ever I had to be banished to a small town for the rest of my life, never going beyond the city walls, there would be no better place than Kotor, Montenegro”.

Adelaide, Australia

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Adelaide you gorgeous thing you

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To be fair a trip to Oz can’t be described as cheap, passé, but unlike other cities Down Under, living costs are reasonable.

Sydney and Melbourne have been vying for the title of Australia’s top city for years, so much so that the government couldn’t even select one as the capital.

But Adelaide in South Australia is a city on the up. The food scene has taken off in a big way with a glut of hungry young chefs (proverbially and metaphorically) re-locating here as they can afford the restaurant rent prices. Same goes with young business owners.

JayTea and the Co-Pilot run a killer blog about the burgeoning gastronomy scene with everything from street vendors serving out of a van to top-class slap-up nosh.

Also, if you’re into cricket, or even if you’re not, try to experience the Adelaide Oval – widely considered the best pitch in the world by players and one of the few places where you can still sit ‘on the hill’ and have a picnic/snooze/beer/read/watch cricket… in that order.

Lisbon, Portugal

Okay so Lisbon isn’t an unusual destination but it’s still inexplicably overlooked by travellers and it’s super-cool and cheap! There is a genuine buzz about this place and unlike the Algarve, it’s not the sound of cicadas rattling in the bushes!

Cheaper than Barcelona but similar – bright colours, late nights, glorious sunsets – the food is delicious and affordable; especially seafood which is as fresh as anything you’ll get on Europe’s Atlantic coastline.

The old yellow trams give the city an old-fashioned charm, and the occasional shabby cobbled street and imperfect building only add to the character.

Pack decent walking shoes and take the Chill Out Lisbon free walking tour which I took in October. Our guide, Nunu, was incredibly warm and knowledgeable. You only pay if you enjoyed it too. We gave €40 between two as it was that good.

Cape Town, South Africa

Like with Adelaide, there’s no way of avoiding a hit on flights. Set up alerts on Google Flights, keep an eye on Skyscanner and of course, watch out for sales (which you should do for all long-haul flights). Ultimately, expect to to pay upwards of £500+.

Remember, SA is in the southern hemisphere so their seasons are the opposite way around. That means you could start saving now, pay for your flight in our summer and get out there for their summer.

Again, you might be thinking “this ain’t affordable” but when you get there it really can be. The exchange rate is still massively in our favour, after all, they’re not caught up in all this Brexit/Trump malarkey.

Remember this is Africa too, this is a special holiday. There’s Table Mountain, a jaw-dropping coast line, a hustling-bustling metropolis and of course, there’s safari. On top of all the great value to be found (that includes Safari), the biggest saving is on wine, where travellers can order a glass of the best locally produced tipples for less than the cost of a can of Coca-Cola.


We’ll be adding to this article in the coming months and would love your input on where to add next!

If you have any questions, thoughts, suggestions or queries then pop them in the comments section below and we’ll get back to you.

Finally, on lists.

Next time you think about clicking on that “11 times Harry Styles Won at Life” list, remember – there are some good lists out there that will save you time, and there are some bad lists out there that won’t. Hopefully this one is in the former 😉


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