Although it’s only January, if you’re thinking of travelling outside the continent this year then obviously the longer you have to save the better. Comparing and contrasting flights for North America, Asia and Africa are helpful because although flights to Bangkok might be a little pricier than Boston, hotels and cost of living once you actually get there contrast greatly. Because of this, if you have a fixed budget for a trip, you might be able to get a lot more holiday for your money. You can read my cost and itinerary guide for Thailand and Sri Lanka here, and if you’d like any other country-specific posts of the same style just let me know in the comments.
I’ve included flights with both direct routes and stopovers to make the list as long as possible, but as a general rule of thumb most African, South American an Asian routes have at least one stopover and flights to the bigger North American cities are direct. If you’re interested in booking any of these flights, you can read my full guide on how to use Skyscanner here.
- Hong Kong, Hong Kong: Hong Kong is one of my favourite places on the planet. If you’re looking to travel East for the first time then places like Singapore and Hong Kong are a great way to ease yourself into the change in scenery. The great thing about Hong Kong is that you can get by there on a student budget or you can splurge. There’s plenty to do for free, it’s easy to get around but there’s also some of the best shopping, restaurants and hotels on the globe. You can fly throughout July for £437 and if you’re looking to find out more on what to do and see there, read my blog post here.
Vancouver, Canada: British Colombia is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and Vancouver is a great city to base yourself in to see its surrounding national parks. Nestled between mountains and water, it is one of the most densely populated cities in Canada and also a great place to start an east coast road trip of the USA. You can also fly to Calgary for £393, direct to Halifax for £445 and Charlottetown for £498.
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic: As the only Caribbean island on this list, the Dominican Republic takes around 12-14 hours to get to from Glasgow with a layover on the east coast of America. If you can find a reasonably priced hotel then this will be a steal of a Caribbean holiday from £497 return.
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: If you’re thinking of backpacking in Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur is a great place to start your travels. Return flights from Glasgow are just £448 return, and flights from the city on to other Asian, African and Australian cities can be found for under £100. It’s a short flight to Bali, Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh and tons of other locations in the region. The best thing about Kuala Lumpur is how luxurious a trip you can have there on a reasonable budget. Read a hotel review I wrote here for a luxury 2-bed apartment for just £26 per night.
Johannesburg, South Africa: Just like Sri Lanka, South Africa is one of the worlds most diverse countries in terms of its landscapes and animal population. Return flights start at £474 return, or if you’re more interested in visiting Cape Town you can fly there from £585.
- New York, United States: There are eighteen cities across both coasts, the south and Midwest that you can fly to in the United States for under £500, the cheapest being Boston at £301. For people visiting the USA for the first time, New York is by far my highest recommendation for a place to visit . Return flights to NYC start at £355, and like many of the other big cities on this list you can see the city on both a backpacker budget or on a heftier one. Buy a 6 day subway pass for $31 for unlimited travel around the city, compare hotel prices on comparison sites like Trivago and purchase the NYC pass in advance to get free entry to the Empire State Building, museums and discounted access to hundreds of other sights. Other cities on the list include Las Vegas, Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
Amman, Jordan: At the cheapest destination on the list, you can fly return from £243 throughout the month of July. There are some unmissable things to see in Jordan, including one of the Ancient Wonders of the World, Petra. Amman is one of the country’s post historically rich cities, with Ancient Roman ruins and sweeping views.
- Colombo, Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s popularity has boomed in the last year, so this is the first time its included in this post. Prices have decreased significantly, and you can fly from Glasgow with Oman Air from £510 (tenner over the budget – sorry!). I have a huge amount of posts on Sri Lanka, which you can read here. The country has cities, mountains, beaches and safari and has great weather in July, so I truly cannot recommend visiting in the summer enough.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Direct flights between Glasgow and Dubai start from £301 throughout July. Although its one of the warmest months to visit the region, you have beaches on your doorstep and plenty of air conditioned shopping centres, world class hotels and restaurants if you’re keen on staying indoors. The flight is also just 7 hours, the equivalent to flying to New York or Toronto, if you’re not keen on super long flights. You can also fly to Abu Dhabi from £341 return.
- Beijing, China: Visas for China are around £80 for UK citizens, so if you plan on visiting I’d recommend travelling to more than one city once you get there and remember if you leave to visit Hong Kong or Macau you will need to purchase a double entry visa. There are several Chinese cities you can fly to within the budget, but Beijing is the cheapest at £427 return. For a travel guide to Beijing, read my blog post here.
Although there are a ton of cities and countries included on this list, this is only around half of the long-haul locations you can reach for under £500. You can also fly to Nepal, Egypt, Thailand, Pakistan, Mexico, India, Oman, Hong Kong, Singapore and more. Click here to see the full list on Skyscanner.net.
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