In 2022, we’ve nursed a renewed appetite to escape but to many, travel is ‘no longer just about going somewhere’. Having endured a prolonged period of constraints, it’s natural to crave novel, meaningful experiences.
Our recent “boxed up” ways of living have also pushed most toward introspection. According to a Google survey, APAC consumers are now shifting their focus to the things that matter most to them, with holistic wellness, quality time with loved ones and personal finance emerging as top contenders.
These considerations, together with our desire for newness, also feed into how and where we’re choosing to travel as international travel restrictions start to loosen. While strolling the busy streets of the world’s most famous cities continues to be a dream for many, an increasing group of globe trotters are also turning their interests towards intimate homestays in the provinces or taking that “once in a lifetime” trip to somewhere they’d never considered before.
Whatever your motivations – self-care, adventure and more – it’s possible to feed your wanderlust while keeping within a budget. Read on for some of the best affordable travel #inspo for this year and beyond.
Before you secure that leave and pack those suitcases, it’s vital to map out a reasonable budget with a trip itinerary that satisfies your needs and interests.
Figuring out how much you can realistically spend against your financial goals and standing will allow you to go on that well-deserved break without worrying about your wealth. Remember to obtain adequate travel insurance as well to safeguard your physical and financial security while abroad.
For air tickets, SkyScanner is a handy website that offers an at-a-glance comparison of flight fares offered by various airlines at the moment. Third-party travel retailers like Klook, KKDay and Creatrip offer a diverse selection of discounts and packages for foreign accommodations, activities and amenities such as SIM Cards.
Now for the fun part, here are some ideas to kickstart the search for your next overseas haunt:
1. Treat yourself
In 2022, wellness is about more than just the mind – we’re talking a holistic approach to health where your physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and even social well-being are being cared for.
While remaining conscious of personal needs and treating yourself kindly is always more than enough, those who wish to take it a step further can try out some relaxing wellness retreats on your next day off.
From one-day wellness camps to week-long hideaways, there’s plenty of healing destinations in vibrant Southeast Asia awaiting your discovery. Here are our picks for a rich, cleansing experience under $70/night:
- 5-Day Yoga Retreat in Nepal: Catered to novices and experts alike, this instructor-led retreat focuses on cleansing all systems in your body and mind, and reprogramming yourself to adopt healthier habits. If the exercises don’t leave you feeling rejuvenated, then maybe the beautiful views of Kathmandu will!
- 3-Day Himalayan Meditation & Yoga Retreat in Rishikesh, India: Explore the concept of yoga via spirituality in this short-term meditation escape. You’ll be able to clock in those steps as well as you trek through the breathtaking Himalayan peaks.
- One-day wellness Staycations in Singapore: With more and more wellness companies like Blue Sky Escapes emerging on our shores, it’s possible to get away from the rigours of city life for a day or two while you’re right here on our sunny island.
2. Tick off that adventure bucket-list
Are you an adrenaline junkie seeking your next overseas conquest? Or are you the spontaneous nomad? If these sound like you, then consider the roads less traveled. Who knows? You might discover new things about the area and even yourself! Here’s some hidden gems for all the curious explorers out there:
1. Mou Waho Island in New Zealand
Rediscover serenity at one of NZ’s undiscovered enclaves. Sail the waters in a Wanaka Water Taxi, meet the endangered flightless native bird, Buff Weka and view the natural glacial crystalised atop the island. Those who prefer a guided tour can check out this sweet island cruise deal.
2. Pantai Klebang Sand Dunes in Melaka
With its pristine sandhills that seem to stretch for ages under a clear blue sky, this picture-perfect location has earned its title as an Instagrammer’s dream come true.
3. Magpupungko Rock Pools in Siargao, Philippines*
Dive into the aquamarine waves of this natural sea-side pool situated in east Siargao. Dubbed a surfer’s paradise, Siargao also has other sultry exploits and unique delicacies waiting to be discovered.
Thrill seekers who fancy unique furniture and spatial vibes while abroad can also check out these one-of-a-kind lodgings:
1. Caravans and the like:
Image source: Notel Melbourne
Wake up to a fresh landscape each day when you rent out one of these moving homes on your next holiday. Conversely, those who’d love to experience life in a caravan without the actual driving can check out Melbourne Australia’s Notel, which offers funky stays in a 1970’s Airstream Trailer nestled in the city’s central business district.
2. Capsule Hotels:
Image source: Hotel 1
These pod-like hostels have won the hearts of solo and budget travelers owing to their modest rates, cleanliness and privacy affordances. Some trendy locations with a view and much to explore include Busan, South Korea’s Hotel 1 and 9h Capsule Hotel in Shinjuku, Japan.
3. Be one with nature:
Image source: Keemala Phuket
Surround yourself with flora and fauna at nature-themed accommodations like the tropical Tree Pool Houses in Thailand or Ice Hotels in Sweden and uncover the beauty of our planet. People call it nature therapy for a reason.
3. Appreciate new cultures from within
Relationships are at the heart of human nature. Connecting with others through speaking, eating and living with them can build lasting bonds and precious memories. Those who seek such valuable experiences can consider booking homestays as opposed to the usual inns.
Homestays refer to living with a local family in the host country for a short or long period of time. This option is popular among exchange students, solo and budget travelers for their value for money and the opportunity to interact closely with locals.
Other benefits of homestays include cultivating appreciation for new cultures, understanding the history of the place and learning the language more quickly. You’ll also get to celebrate holidays with locals and savour authentic, home cooked meals. Some even claim that they’ve gained another set of family after their visits!
Get connected with potential host families via platforms like Homestay.com.
Traveling is a gift – the experiences gathered after seeing the world and meeting new people are arguably irreplaceable. So, while you don’t exactly have to go on extreme penny-pinching mode on your next vacation, sticking to a realistic budget and spending wisely can ensure a meaningful yet inexpensive journey.