A week of vacation, full of dreams and… a budget to respect. Of course, Switzerland is so beautiful in summer that it is also good to stay there. But we all dream of escape from time to time, right? So, in order to avoid ending up for the twenty-fifth time with the great-aunt who lives in neighboring France, we bet on these destinations that are kind to our finances. Listed by sites such as Lonely Planet or Tripadvisor, these spots will allow us to enjoy a real change of scenery, without costing us half an arm!
We ask ourselves the right questions: how flexible am I in terms of dates (let’s avoid high season and weekend departures)? Do I have a rail pass that would allow me to save part of the train tickets? Am I ready to abandon the fantasy of staying in a five-star hotel to bet on youth hostels? Similarly, we hurry to search the offers of Airbnb and book the trip (Hello, honey? Tonight, we book!), in order to take advantage of the lowest possible rates.
And once the ticket and accommodation have been reserved, we find out about good local plans: what are the restaurants as affordable as they are delicious that it would be impossible to miss, on the spot? What activities to bet on, in order to have fun without breaking the bank? We review travel sites (and why not women’s magazines), and write everything down in a notebook, in bullet journal mode.
Well, that’s all well and good; but where are we going?
(Editor’s note: The prices quoted in this article are, unless otherwise indicated, based on research for the week of July 3 to 9, 2017, and departing from Geneva: they are however relative to changes, depending on the dates and day of the reservation.)
The famous Konbini site lists the region in its Top 3 inexpensive destinations for summer 2017: easily accessible by train, we turn to the magnificent and historic city of Venice, or the Genoa of all our dreams. Pizzas, pastas and Aperol Spritz will be as tasty as anywhere else, and you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy all the beauty of Italy.
Price side: The Geneva-Venezia Santa Lucia train will cost you less than 150 fr. on the outward journey, without subscription, and in second class. However, the EasyJet flight from Geneva will probably be much cheaper, possibly costing you less than 50 fr. per trip (this example can be modified according to the date of reservation). On site, the prices are quite affordable, provided you avoid the tourist traps and moltissimo chic restaurants.
According to Lonelyplanet, Lisbon and Porto (at the top of the 2017 ranking) are two cities that budget-conscious tourists should be eager to visit. Astonishing architecture, dazzling sunshine, general good humor and typical dishes: we can’t wait to discover these joys of the South!
Price side: Book the Geneva-Porto flight with EasyJet (just over 200 fr. one way, but only 30 fr. return). With Swiss, the total trip can cost us less than 210 fr., against 212 fr. with KLM. A word of advice: book quickly, because these prices are well worth it!
But that’s in the North, isn’t it? How’s that, the North?! Quickly erase the image of dunes swept away by rain from your thoughts, because again, the Konbini site mentions the islands of Brittany in its top 3. Indeed, the Breton archipelago has many wonders to offer us, whether it whether its turquoise waters or its boat trips. For camping enthusiasts, this destination will be ideal, and will propel you without the slightest harm into a Dolce vita atmosphere and a heavenly beach.
Price side: If you leave by car, van or motorhome, it will take about 10 hours of travel from Geneva: we therefore plan a nice stopping spot, so as not to get exhausted and take a break from the route. By plane, the Geneva-Brest flight will cost you nearly 300 fr. with Air France. On the spot, we will prefer to find a nice campsite (unless you have come by van and choose our night break points thanks to the “Park4Night” application). Still cheaper than the Bahamas!
The south of France
If the South of France (Côte d’Azur or Provence) is kind to our wallet, it is mainly because this beautiful region is right next to us: it will only take us four hours to reach the pretty town of Avignon, by car (or carpooling?). All you have to do is find a small hotel, B&B or affordable Airbnb to spend a holiday in the sun without coming home broke.
Price side: We pay for gasoline, or the EasyJet plane ticket to Nice, which will cost you around 50 fr. in mid-July 2017, from Geneva (please note, prices may vary depending on the dates, seasons and time of booking). On site, we think of renting a studio, an Airbnb, opting for a campsite or a youth hostel which we will prefer to hotels that are often more expensive, depending on where you want to go. Let’s say that this destination will above all save money on the trip: on site, you will still have to be careful not to spend half a month’s salary on dinners by the sea.
Who hasn’t dreamed of strolling around the magnificent island of Santorini, hand in hand with a beautiful Apollo that seems to have descended straight from Mount Olympus? It could be you, and you don’t even need to spend thousands of francs to taste this dream! Well, okay, Santorini and Mykonos are a bit expensive… however, the Skyscanner site strongly recommends Paros and Skiathos, other equally paradisiacal islands, from which it will be possible to make daily excursions to other spots to see, such as Hydra or Kefalonia… and relive the mythology!
Price side: Due to the current economic situation, the cost of living has ostensibly fallen in Greece in recent years. On average, again according to Skyscanner, a night in a three-star hotel will cost you around 70 fr. for two, while your consumption on the spot should be rather favorable to your budget (think about 10 fr. per meal in a simple and trendy restaurant). As far as the Geneva-Athens plane ticket with EasyJet is concerned, the prices vary enormously depending on the day: you should book well in advance, think about leaving on a weekday and hope to obtain seats which will result from a total of 250 fr. at 300 fr. for the trip.
Considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, its historic center is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Renowned for the beauty of its architecture (we are dying to visit the Cathedral of Saint Vitus), Prague is also one of the least expensive cities in Europe, as highlighted by the Skyscanner site.
Price side: We go there with the Lufthansa company, departing from Geneva, for a little less than 200 fr. Otherwise, we embark from Zurich, just to take advantage of a direct flight, which will cost us between 220 and 250 fr. with Vueling, Airberlin or KLM. A good meal can be enjoyed there for less than 10 fr., while hotel nights are sold at low prices (for example, according to calculations by Skyscanner, it would take 230 fr. for a three-star hotel, for three nights).
… or anywhere else in the world!
Please note, in order not to inflict false joy on you, we prefer to warn you that the prices in this category are likely to increase with the number of kilometers traveled from Switzerland. The destinations mentioned are however part of the ranking of the cheapest places to visit, in 2017, with very affordable prices on site (aim for a budget of 25-30 fr. per day).
If you dream of Central America, here is a perspective that should make you happy: wedged between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize is part of the Lonelyplanet ranking of the most affordable destinations. Lovers of tropical beaches, turquoise waters, wild hikes and nature will love this island. Likewise, diving fans should be absolutely thrilled, knowing that it is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world. (If you want to know more, see our article from December 2016, specifically dedicated to Belize.)
price side: The flight would cost us between 1000 and 1500 fr., with British Airways, United or American Airlines. This is far from cheap, but in view of the many activities to try on site and the low local prices, it could well be worth it!
However, if Belize is too expensive an option, we happily turn to another alternative, also in Central America:
The same Maldives-style beaches, the same coconut palms swaying gently in the wind… Honduras is another paradise, but cheaper than the tourist spots of the Caribbean. For around thirty francs a day, you can taste fresh fish and other typical delicacies. Want to lounge on the sand, sip cocktails and swim with the fish? Do not hesitate!
Price side: With the company United, we book the flight at around 1050 fr., counting two stopovers. A bit long the journey, but in view of the many kilometers to be covered, the price is rather doable, right? On site, a night in a nice hotel costs about 70 fr., and meals are more than affordable.
According to Skyscanner, Cambodia is certainly one of the cheapest countries in the world, and one of the most popular in Southeast Asia. We are dying to visit the temples of Angkor and to try hiking, immersed in these magnificent unique landscapes, to see at least once in our life.
Price side: With Qatar Airways, the flight will cost you around 1000 fr. from Geneva, counting one or two stopovers. According to Skyscanner, a place to sleep (which won’t be luxury, huh) can be found at a price as low as 4 fr. per night, and meals served in the street will only cost you 3 fr. on average A double room in a 3-star hotel is reserved for the price of 25 fr. approximately.
The Dominican Republic
With a touch of humour, the kayak.fr website recommends this destination to “young and broke” people: again, those who dream of beaches and turquoise waves should look no further. The Dominican Republic has everything to please us, with its heavenly landscapes and its promise of sunny days spent splashing around in the water, a cocktail in hand.
Price side: Delta and American Airlines offer flights at a price of 1200 fr. approximately. Again, it is the small expenses, once there, that are worth the detour, knowing that a night in certain good hotels will not exceed 60 fr. approximately!
That’s it, is it booked? Now all we have to do is pack our bags and dream of our vacation, which is fast approaching!
Travel: 7 secret destinations to explore
Tattoos: we bet on the trip
Travel: where to go in 2017?
To receive the latest articles from Femina, subscribe to the newsletters.