The best budget places to travel with your varsity buds

19 February 2019

The best budget places to travel with your varsity buds

For all travel-loving students this year, it won’t be long before you find yourselves dreaming about taking a group trip abroad during your vac. Low budget? That’s no problem.

For a short-list of the best budget-friendly destinations, Development Promotions gives its top choices of Topdeck trips under R12,500, so you can bag yourselves a bargain.

Take on Turkey with the crew

Duration: 7 days
The budget: From R10,200 – The Road to Troy Click here to view
Go-to extra meal: Shish kebab with chips, from R38 to R77.

Visa-free and just one direct flight away from Johannesburg (try Turkish Airlines), students and their crew will soon be tucking into shish kebabs and Turkish delights. While you’re at it, snap up some bargains at the colourful bazaars of Istanbul and soar above the majestic city of Cappadocia in a hot air balloon.

Don’t stop there. Explore the majestic waterfalls along the canyon walls of Saklikent Gorge before moving on to the seaside town of Fethiye. Locals call this place a “paradise granted to earth by God”, and when you see the beaches, you'll know why.

Get everyone involved for Egypt

Duration: 8 days
The budget: From R13,700 – Egypt Express Click here to view
Go-to extra meal: Koshary (Egyptian-style stir fry) between R10 and R20.

Calling all Classics majors. It’s time to leave the lecture hall to sail the Nile in a traditional felucca boat, shopping in Luxor’s gold markets, and touring the Valley of the Kings with a qualified Egyptologist.

Remember to bring a valid student card along, as bonafide students qualify for discounts at certain museums and monuments.

Try Thailand’s best islands

Duration: 8 days
The budget: From R9,900 – Thailand Express Click here to view
Go-to extra meal: Street vendor veg phad thai, R17.


From epic beaches to delicious and cheap street food, cocktails and coconuts for days, Thailand is where it’s at. Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao will reward you with plenty of sunrise and sunset action, and more than enough chances to work on that tan.

Wherever you go in Asia, a backpack is your best friend. And, always arrive in a new place with it half full, and top it back up with neat gadgets, quirky matching t-shirts for your housemates, and comfy harem pants to wear back at your digs.

Make a group effort in Indo

Duration: 7 days
The budget: From R10,200 – Bali Island Hopper Click here to view 
Go-to extra meal: Bakso (Indonesian meatball served with hot broth, often with noodles and fried dumplings), between R10 and 20.

It's not only Instagram, but Pinterest which also reports that searches for 'less travelled islands' is up by 179 percent this year. The Development Promotions team highly recommends hopping around Indonesia, from Lembongan Island to Gili T, and the nature haven of Ubud.

Topdeck has affordable and inclusive packages for students, including beach activities, accommodation, ferry transfers and most meals so you can focus on the fun stuff.

Morocco’s best bits on a budget

Duration: 7 days
The budget: From R11,500 – Rockin’ Morocco Click here to view
Go-to extra meal: Tagine (share larger pots), from R35 to R110.

Morocco should be on your 2019 travel list while it's still seriously affordable! Tick off Casablanca’s best beaches, the UNESCO World Heritage Site city of Fes, and the medinas of Marrakech in seven days. Be prepared for opulence overload at the Hassan II Mosque, photo ops aplenty at the Hassan Tower in Rabat, and as many walking tours as your feet can manage.

From a stop off at Volubilis to see ancient Roman ruins, to the vibrant white-and-blue cobbled streets of Chefchouen.Remember to set some money aside for a visa, which costs roughly R327 each for a single entry.