If you hate checking your account balance, a holiday is probably not on your agenda this Christmas.
But renowned travel bloggers Chris Walker-Bush and Robert Schrader argue that can change.
Here are their top recommendations for budget travel over the Christmas break.
1. Republic of Georgia
What? Where is that?
Yes, that was my reaction too.
Writer and photographer of Leave Your Daily Hell Robert Schrader and says the Republic of Georgia is the “hidden gem filled with mountains, ancient buildings and one of the world’s oldest cultures”.
“I don’t understand why Georgia is not the most popular country in the world,” he writes on his blog which amasses nearly 20,000 views per month. “I can only assume, once word gets out, that it will be.”
Lonely Planet says: “Georgia has to be one of the most beautiful countries on Earth.”
The “balcony of Europe” has a complicated and intricate history creating a cocktail of influences from Turkey, Central Asia, Russia and Persia.
Georgia is a backpacker’s dream with hostels accompanying nearly every major city, cheap food and a plethora of exploration options on foot, horse or vehicle.
Transport can be a little tricky with the signs in smaller towns written in Georgian.
But that’s not much of a problem given the “greatest treasure” of Georgia is the Georgians themselves.
Obsessively hospitable, excessively friendly and experts at getting the best out of life, the Georgians will treat you like family within minutes.
“Winter occurs from December to March in Georgia,” Schrader says. “So you’ll be there in time for ski season.”
There’s a plethora of rich architecture, art, and unparalleled views of rising mountains regions with plenty of hiking opportunities.
If the swinging nightlife in the capital Tbilisi isn’t enough for you, Georgia’s long history of wine making gives everyone options.
Schrader says the area is “doable on $50-$75 per day” so students are looking at a holiday under $3000.
2. Yunnan (South-west China)
“South Asia is always my go-to for budget travelling,” says Aussie On The Road Walker-Bush.
“If you search extensively on everything and never take the first option you see you’ll find the best deals,” he says.
“Flexible flight dates can help a lot too, even one day can make a big difference in price.”
Walker-Bush says he “came to the travel game late” at 23 but boasts about 3500 followers on Twitter.
“I love travel because nothing is mundane, everything is new and everything is challenging,” he says.
Walker-Bush explains travelling to the culturally rich Yunnan province can cost under $3000 for four weeks.
“Firstly it’s a lot warmer in southern China compared to the north in December,” he says. “I’m a little biased but I don’t think people realise there’s so much more to China than just Beijing and Shanghai.”
When asked if he would recommend Yunnan over more urbanised areas Walker-Bush replied, “Oh my god yeah, it’s a great cultural experience.”
“I’d recommend Yunnan way before something like Shanghai.”
The quiet of Yunnan offers nature-lovers and outdoor-addicts a haven away from industrialised China.
Kung Fu Panda derived much of its surroundings from Yunnan’s mountainous landscape according to Walker-Bush.
The area offers everything from tourist markets and a tiger leaping gorge to hiking and Buddhist temples reflecting traditional Chinese culture.
3. New Zealand
Hate the cold? Want to be a little bit different to all those students that jet off to Europe and America?
New Zealand in summer might be a cheap, adventurous and most importantly warm option for you.
STA travel agent Tanya Master and RMIT Professional Writing and Editing student said while Christmas was peak season, New Zealand can be affordable and jam-packed with activities.
In the glowing warmth of summer tourists can enjoy bungee jumping, sky diving, sightseeing, cruises, festivals and a variety of other outdoor activities for $3500 in three weeks.
By Ellen Seah
Cover photo by Moyan Brenn, via Flickr.