International travel became much more accessible and far cheaper with the advent of low-cost carriers. However, there are still plenty of destinations that seem reserved for travellers with deep pockets. But fear not, as we have tips on how to visit some of the more traditionally high-end destinations within your budget. 

Let’s take a closer look at two destinations that have been considered very expensive for years –  Iceland and the Maldives, but our tips can be used also in many others countries. Find out how to visit without blowing the bank!

For a daily dose of travel inspiration and tips for making the most of your travel without spending a fortune, follow eSky on Instagram. You can also check out our detailed destination guides and travel articles, packed with insider tips and tricks. And don’t forget the eSky app, where you can find the best prices and destination deals while storing all your travel information in one easy place – ideal for organising your budget trip to Iceland or the Maldives!

Off-road, Iceland
Off-road, Iceland © iStock
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The cheaper way to discover the Land of the Elves

Iceland has ranked among the most expensive countries in the world for years. Hotels in Reykjavík can be many times more expensive than those in other Scandinavian capitals, and restaurant prices exceed the European average by almost half. Alcohol is also very expensive here, so how do you visit Iceland without completely emptying your wallet?

Camping, Iceland
Camping, Iceland © iStock

Fortunately, there are several ways to explore Iceland cheaply. Camping is becoming more and more popular here, with a constantly growing network of campsites that are well organised and significantly cheaper than hotels and hostels. Do bear in mind that Iceland lies on the border of the Arctic Circle, therefore sleeping in a tent throughout the endless sunshing of the summer period may feel rather peculiar at first – such is the power of Icelandic nature.

Sleeping in the rooftop tent, Iceland
Sleeping in the rooftop tent, Iceland © iStock

Rental cars, buses and domestic flights can seem quite expensive to the average tourist, but it is worth considering the option of renting an off-road car with a roof tent to combine costs. While the initial outlay is higher, this option has a number of benefits, including removing the need to book accommodation or eat in expensive restaurants. If you do opt for a rental car, look out for the cheaper city parking zones – these are known as P3 zones and are marked in blue.

Hot springs in Iceland
Hot springs in Iceland © shutterstock

Off-road vehicles are often equipped with a field kitchen for self-catering and you can pick up supplies at the affordable Bonus and Kronan supermarkets. There is no need to buy bottled water – the water in Iceland is some of the world’s cleanest and is cold enough to drink straight from the tap. While in Reykjavik, it is worth signing up for a free city tour as part of the Free Walking Tour programme. Walking tours around the capital are organised periodically and are very popular. It’s no secret that there is often a fee to experience Iceland’s flagship hot springs attraction so look out for free alternatives inFosslaug or Guðrúnarlaug. Out of season, they often have a very peaceful atmosphere.

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The Maldives for everyone

Maldives was traditionally a holiday destination reserved for the rich, however this has changed with the development of the country’s air network along with an increased awareness of cheaper ways to travel, largely driven by social media. The Maldives also changed its accommodation regulations in recent years, allowing for the opening of guest houses on local islands and giving budget travellers better options than ever before. The Maldives is a fascinating country that can be explored independently while maintaining a reasonable travel budget. It is worth planning a visit to this archipelago on your own, rather than via a travel agency, who charge a premium for this type of holiday. Setting a price alert for the cheapest flights will help you to plan a reasonably priced trip and will enable you to see promotions and changing ticket prices. It is worth looking for cheaper connecting flights within the Maldives to spend the money saved on exploring the charms of this island paradise.

Ferry in Maldives
Ferry in Maldives © iStock

After landing at Velana airport, most tourists head to the centre of Malé by taxi, however regular ferries are a cheaper option. Keep your travel budget in check by planning trips to islands close together – this also saves valuable travel time. Before agreeing to any service, ensure thatt the final price includes taxes as it is a common practice here to add additional fees to services or meals – from the cost of the airport transfer through to the environmental fee at your hotel.

Relax in Maldives
Relax in Maldives © iStock

Three main forms of accommodation are popular in the Maldives – resorts, cabin cruisers and guesthouses. The third option is the most cost-effective and will offer you the most authentically Maldivian experience. In many ways, traveling on a budget in the Maldives is much better than staying at one of the luxury resorts. Sumptuous holiday resorts are often built on private islands and isolated from the rest of the country, whereas a guesthouse stay offers visitors a glimpse into the true character and day-to-day life of these beautiful islands.



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