Budget alternatives for expensive cities: Trade Paris for Madrid and Greece for the West Coast

2018-09-10 20:00 - Marisa Crous
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Mykonos, Greece. (Photo: Getty)

Cities like Tokyo and New York City are some of the world's priciest places to visit. Zagat says that the average bill for dinner in The Big Apple is about $48.56 (an exorbitant R735). In Cape Town that would translate as drinks, a starter, a main and a dessert. Even for more than one person! 

SEE: The cheapest and most expensive cities to call home in 2018 

Most avid travellers would tell you to steer clear of touristy spots when looking for a hot meal. Even a cold meal. (Gelato right outside the Vatican City set me back something drastic). 

And although travelling to places like Hong Kong, Mykonos and London should be on your bucket list, for sure, switching one expensive destination for a similar budget-friendly one is a great idea. Particularly at times when wanderlust is real, but paying over R400 for a meal of (however delicious) calamari might just be a bit much. 

So if you're seeking a similar bustle, without the price tag - go here: 

1. Mykonos, Greece vs Langebaan, South Africa

The island of Mykonos is, undoubtedly, magical. The views, food, atmosphere and beaches all make this island a dream destination. But if dreaming about it is all you can afford at the moment, then opt for a similarly special local spot.

Langebaan on the West Coast of South Africa is really cool, and uncannily immolates the white-washed aesthetic of Mykonos. Especially the institution that is Club Mykonos.

Not too bad, hey? 

Eating at one of the pretty restaurants on the marina at Club Mykonos, like Little Venice will set you back around R150 p/p. Whereas eating lunch in Mykonos at a taverna on the beach, like Kiki's Taverna on Agios Sostis Beach is more in the region on R400-500. 

(However, if your dreams ever do come true and you find yourself in Mykonos, go eat BBQ squid or pork chops at Kiki's).

And although Mykonos island has beaches with names like Paradise Beach and Super Paradise Beach, The West Coast National Park, which sits adjacent to Langebaan, has one of the most beautiful spots for swimming and lounging on the beach, in the form of Kraalbaai. Get into the park for R55 (if an SA citizen).

SEE: #VisitWestCoast: Exploring from Saldanha to Langebaan 

2. Paris, France, vs Madrid, Spain

Really keen to stay in the central hub of a city that drips with culture and offers you gastronomic delights around every corner? 

A beer in central Paris can cost anything up to between €6 - 9 (R105 - 158), whereas Madrid offers cheaper beer prices at around around €1.80 - 3.50 (R32 - R61.50). Plus, tapas are often included! Score. 

And staying in the centre of these hubs are just as vastly different when it comes to cost. An Airbnb apartment in Notre Dame goes for about R3 582 per night (4 guests) in the summer season. While a much bigger apartment in Madrid's city centre (5 guests) will set you back around R2 418 per night. 

3. London, England vs Berlin, Germany

London and Berlin both have slick underground public transport systems. But travelling in and around an international city can add a lot of cost to your trip. In London, the underground trains are expensive, and a Zone 1-2 day ticket costs £12.00 (R236,28) vs the much cheaper Berlin day ticket, which is €7,00 in (R122,97). And when you're staying for a week or more and are planning on using this type of transport daily, it makes a massive difference in your budget. 

WATCH: How the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin became a symbol of unification 

4. Tokyo, Japan vs Seoul, (South) Korea

These two cities are vastly different, but if you're looking for a very urban, East-Asian experience, then maybe Seoul is for you, if you're a budget traveller.

What better way to see and orientate yourself in a big, busy city when you first arrive than to take a classic Hop-On, Hop-Off bus? In Tokyo, this will cost you around R480, whereas a similar city tour in Seoul goes for around R171

WATCH: Japan preps to welcome muslims to the 2020 Olympics with their new mobile mosque

While sushi is relatively affordable in both South Korea and Japan (around R18 for 2 pieces), Munchies argue that Korean sushi is fast-becoming superior to that made my the Japanese. 

Oyster also reports that hotels, and other accommodation tend to be up to 50% cheaper in Seoul compared to Tokyo. 

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