There’s much more to budget travel than you might first expect with a wealth of worldwide locations, optional activities and cultural encounters to keep your mind, body and bank balance in the rudest of health. Our budget travel guide is bursting with ideas including what we rate & what we don’t, and our best & worst of budget holidays.
Budget walking holidays guide
Historic mule trails thread through the terraced hillsides of Kynthos, Greece. After a little clearing and a bit of mapping, they’ve proved to be excellent, ready-made hiking paths. The trails follow the traditional Cycladic drystone walls, so damage to the landscape is minimal. Eat in a local tavern at the end of the day and you’ve got yourself a really good value, low-impact holiday.
I think the people who saw us hiking on them got a real kick out of seeing these historic routes being used by visitors.
- Sandra Forrester said of her Greece walking holiday in Kynthos.
You’ll find that the best budget walking holidays tread very lightly, not just in Greece, but around the world. In Croatia, you can get from island to island on the local ferry. On the Amalfi Coast, you’ll be hopping aboard the local bus. In Catalonia, you can buy local provisions from a farmer’s market before your coastal walk. Want to know a convenient truth? Going on a budget walking holiday might be better for the environment – as well as your wallet.
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What do budget walking holidays entail?
One of the best ways to find a budget trip is to use a holiday company based in the destination you want to visit. These specialists normally have far fewer overheads than an international business. Going direct to a smaller company cuts out the middle men, and these savings can be passed directly on to you, as some of our previous travellers explain below.
Seeking some Adriatic inspiration, Philip Jeffrey booked a self guided Croatia coast walking tour through a Dubrovnik-based specialist. “On top of the best service ever, their price was the most reasonable of all the tour groups I looked into,” he said. Ellen Turner had a similar finding when she booked her Catalonia self guided walking holiday. She found a long-standing specialist based in the area. “Larger tour operators offer a similar itinerary, but this operator can offer a cheaper deal with absolutely no loss of professional service standards,” she said.
Self guided or small group?
You can walk alone or in a group and either can be done inexpensively. Small groups normally have no more than 16 participants, and often a lot fewer. If you’re a solo traveller on a small group trip you may end up sharing a room (or a night under canvas) with another person of the same gender. On self guided walks you may need to spend a little bit of money on public transport to get to the start of your trail – but rest assured you’ll get plenty of support, maps and guidance along the way.
Long walks, short strolls
Generally a week is enough time to ramble around a region and really get to know it. Eight days or less fits nicely into a budget bracket, and is relatively kind on your feet. Just because you’re keeping costs low, there’s no need to punish yourself with long days and hard slogs. Many itineraries offer a choice of longer or shorter treks each day. On the other hand, if you want to walk the whole of the Camino de Santiago, you’ll need more than a week, but you still don’t need a big budget.
Bringing the family
Ah, the allure of an affordable holiday with kids. Not all walking holidays are suitable for children, but self guided holidays are the way to go, and there are a number of family-friendly budget walks. In France, kids will be enthralled by a walking holiday with your very own donkey porter, carrying your bags. Around Italy’s Lake Como, centre-based walking is the way to go, as you can play each day by ear and adapt your walks according to everyone’s mood.
When is the best time to go?
One of the best ways to enjoy budget walking is to travel outside peak season. Not only is it cheaper getting there, and cheaper to stay, but you’re providing out-of-season income to towns and villages. Walking specialists will suggest times of year when the weather is still stable, and the paths are still safe. Off-season shouldn’t mean trails blocked by snow, or driving rain.
More about Budget walking
Europe is a great option to look for low-cost walking holidays.
Tailor-made budget holidays on the Camino de Santiago don't mean discomfort.
Budget walking holidays in Montenegro take you well away from the coastal hotspots.
The Amalfi Coast’s longstanding reputation as a holiday spot makes it great for budget walkers.
Budget walking holidays in Picos de Europa can be combined with Spanish language lessons.