Mountain gorilla in Uganda (Shutterstock: see credit below)
List Words : Hazel Plush | 13 November

9 of the best trips for under £1,000

These incredible trips cost less than £1,000 (or US$1,590 / €1,280 / AUD$1,840) – and they pack in real bang for your buck. Who said travel had to break the bank?

1. Overlanding in South America

Cuzco to Lima, Inca Trail & Titicaca, Oasis Overland
How long? 12 days
How much? From £745, plus US$375 (£236) local payment (for food, accommodation, etc)

Floating island on Lake Titicaca (Shutterstock)
Floating island on Lake Titicaca (Shutterstock)

Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail feature on most traveller's bucket lists – but *newsflash!* you don't have to bankrupt yourself to tick them off. This 12-day Cuzco to Lima overlanding trip from Oasis Overland boasts a whopping itinerary – packing in a Cuzco city tour, 4 day trek on the Inca Trail, a guided visit to Machu Picchu, a boat trip to the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, and a homestay on one of the islands. Not bad for under £1,000!

All accommodation is included, plus 50% of all meals – as is all transport between destinations, including overlanding truck, flights from Juliaca to Lima, and the return train from Machu Picchu. This is a hands-on trip, perfect for adventurous travellers; you'll get to meet local people and get a big dose of Peruvian culture too.

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2. Exploring Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's North-West (private trip), TravelLocal 
How long? 10 days
How much? From £990

Reclining Buddha in Isurumuniya temple, Anuradhapura (Shutterstock)
Reclining Buddha in Isurumuniya temple, Anuradhapura (Shutterstock)

We love Sri Lanka: it's culture-rich, brimming with wildlife, and compact enough to get to grips with in a couple of weeks. Plus, its tea is delicious! And while it might not be the 'hidden gem' it once was (we've seen a rise in the number of tour operators heading there over the past 12 months), there are still plenty of nooks and crannies that are WAY off the tourist map.

If you want to feel like you've got the island to yourself, try TravelLocal's Sri Lanka's North-West itinerary. This private trip will whisk you to the little-visited Kalpitiya peninsula (a glorious beachy enclave north of Colombo), the 'cultural triangle' of Anuradhapura (with beautiful Buddhist temples and stupas at every turn), and the sacred city of Kandy (a handy stone's throw from the tea plantations). At just £990 per person, you'll have spare change for a few brews, too.

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3. Trekking to Petra, Jordan

Jordan's Dana To Petra Trek, KE Adventure Travel
How long? 8 days
How much? From £895

Al Khazneh in Petra, Jordan (Shutterstock)
Al Khazneh in Petra, Jordan (Shutterstock)

Trekking in the Middle East? It's not just for Wilfred Thesiger, you know. Jordan's Dana to Petra Trek with KE Adventure Travel does just what it says on the tin – to spectacular (and budget-friendly) effect.

The six days of walking takes you through some of Jordan's most rugged terrain, starting from the Dana Reserve, and teetering on the edge of the Rift Valley (sometimes literally) towards 'Middle East's Machu Picchu'. You'll hike along hunters' trails through lush gorges and across vertiginous ridges, climbing from 300 metres above sea level to around 1,100 metres at the highest point. By night, you'll rest your bones in Bedouin-style camps, tucking into fine dinners (you'd never know they'd been cooked on a campfire) and swapping tales with your nomadic hosts.

Your arrival at Petra – the grand finale – feels all the more momentous after your six-day hike, and you'll enjoy a leisurely guided tour with a big smug smile on your face. 

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4. Migrating with the Berbers, Morocco

Nomadic Berber Migration, Tucan Travel
How long? 11 days
How much? From £899

Berber tents in the Sahara, Morocco (Shutterstock)
Berber tents in the Sahara, Morocco (Shutterstock)

Dreaming of living the life of a nomad? This trip is for you. Take to the hills with Tucan Travel's Migrating with the Berbers trip in Morocco... Twice a year, the Berber community move their livestock and homes to greener pastures – and you could tag along for the ride.

Travellers on this tour will move with families over seven days, sleeping in their tents, eating authentic cuisine cooked on the road, and mucking in with the day-to-day tasks of moving big distances. You'll get an unrivalled insight into nomadic life, and maybe even make a few Berber friends along the way. You'll also spend some time in Marrakech and the surrounding region. Moving house has never been so enjoyable!

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5. Unveiling Uzbekistan

Classic Uzbekistan, TravelLocal
How long? 9 days
How much? From £895

Samarkand, Uzbekistan (Shutterstock)
Samarkand, Uzbekistan (Shutterstock)

Where can you spy Soviet-era architecture alongside ornate Persian-style mosques? Haggle in Silk Road bazaars by day and sleep in desert yurts by night? In Uzbekistan, that's where.

This action-packed 9-day Classic Uzbekistan itinerary from TravelLocal is organised by local operators, so you can be assured you're getting an authentic experience. Better yet, it's it private trip, so you'll be able to tailor it to your interests (and have the guide to yourself). Not bad for £895!

Suggested itineraries (on which the price is based) include tours of the Silk Road cities Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, as well as the grand city of Tashkent. You'll explore Samarkand's iconic Registan (the Persian-built public square), explore Bukhara's old town, ride on the Soviet-era Metro and cross the desert into the ancient city of Khiva.

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6. Meeting mountain gorillas, Uganda & Rwanda

A Week in Gorilla Lands, Absolute Africa 
How long? 8 days
How much? From £850

Silverback Mountain Gorilla, Uganda (Shutterstock)
Silverback Mountain Gorilla, Uganda (Shutterstock)

Trekking to see the mountain gorillas of Virungas National Park is an experience you'll never forget. After hours of hiking through lush forest, your guide hacking the undergrowth with his machete, you'll spot the gorillas – dark and camouflaged against the shadowy jungle floor, minding their own business and munching tree bark. It's a humbling sight: they're disconcertingly human-like, lolling around on their extended dinner break – seemingly oblivious of the two-legged interlopers.

But this isn't East Africa's only wildlife highlight: on Absolute Africa's A Week in Gorilla Lands you'll not only see mountain gorillas, but also explore Queen Elizabeth National Park (home of hippos, leopards, lions and chimps) and cruise the Kazinga Channel (where you'll spot elephants, buffaloes and water birds).

With gorilla trekking permits alone costing at least US$350, this £850 price tag (which includes all excursions, accommodation and meals) is great value. You'll also tour Entebbe and Kigali, experience Rwanda's Genocide Museum and visit the grave of zoologist and primatologist Dian Fossey.

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7. Wildlife watching, Scotland

Speyside 24/7: wildlife watching in the Cairngorms National Park & Scotland's west coast, Speyside Wildlife 
How long? 8 days
How much? From £925 (plus 5% discount when you book online)


White-tailed sea eagle (Shutterstock)

Grab your boots and binoculars for a 'Scottish safari' – an action-packed week in the mountains and forests of Speyside, and along Scotland's west coast. On Speyside Wildlife's 24/7 trip you'll tick off at least 24 species of bird and seven sought-after local mammals, in a landscape that will stay with you forever.

The big sightings include white-tailed eagles, capercaillie and black grouse in the forest, mountains and moorlands; plus divers, seaduck, terns and dolphins on the coast. At dawn, you'll huddle in hides to watch for elusive species, and when darkness falls you'll spy nocturnal critters on night drives and walks.

The group has exclusive use of a converted steading in the Cairngorms, with all the luxuries of a small country hotel: think elegant ensuite rooms, a cosy lounge, and gourmet grub rustled up by on-site chefs. This week-long holiday lets you unwind and appreciate your spectacular surroundings – combining top Scottish hospitality with some of the UK's finest wildlife experiences.

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8. Living like a local, Italy

Local Living Italy: Tuscany San Gimignano, G Adventures
How long? 7 days
How much? From £949

San Gimignano (Shutterstock)
San Gimignano (Shutterstock)

If you’ve ever wanted to forge a deeper bond with Italy, here is your chance! This Local Living trip with G Adventures plunges you into Tuscan life – and everything from the food you eat to where you sleep will be wholly authentic.

Your base is the welcoming town of San Gimignano – a community surrounded by vineyards, Medieval ruins, and picture-perfect countryside. You'll share a renovated Medieval-built house (plus a beautiful herb garden) with the rest of the group, as well as your host Ugo, a San Gimignano native.

The itinerary is flexible, and the pace is laid-back: you'll tuck into a home-cooked dinner with Ugo, try your hand at a cooking class, slurp wine at local vineyards, and hike through the countryside to crumbling relics. If you miss t
he city buzz, walking tours of nearby Rome, Siena and Florence are available too – although we wouldn't blame you if you never left the cosy confines of  San Gimignano...

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9. Snowshoeing in Finland

Taiga Snowshoe Adventure, Walks Worldwide 
How long? 7 days
How much? From £845

Trees at sunset in winter, Finland (Shutterstock)
Trees at sunset in winter, Finland (Shutterstock)

A chance to see the Northern Lights? To cross frozen lakes with an expert guide? To spot reindeer and sleep in snowy log cabins? Sign us up! Over seven days, you could experience the thrills (and hopefully not too many spills) of Finland's taiga (snowforest) on this Snowshoe Adventure with Walks Worldwide.

Don't worry if you've never used snowshoes before – it's very easy to pick up. Walking distances are modest as you journey through the taiga in the company of an expert local guide, taking your time to take in the untouched wilderness.

You'll spend days padding through the snow, spying reindeer and wolf tracks, and discovering 4,000-year-old rock paintings – warming up with fresh coffee (brewed on open fires) and traditional saunas too. You'll sleep in secluded log cabins, far from civilisation – with the chance to spot the Northern Lights if you're lucky...

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