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Cancun, Mexico

Backpack it: There are countless backpacking routes through Mexico, taking in the ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, the art city of Oaxaca, the Sierra Madre mountains ... but, for lots of backpackers, all roads eventually lead to Cancun for hard partying and tequila shot slamming. It’s also a great place for sampling authentic Mexican food – get tacos and quesadillas from £1.50.

Flashpack it: Don’t blow your spare cash in the pricier bars, instead fork out on a scuba diving expedition. A short drive south from Cancun, the Riviera Maya Cenotes are the longest cave and cavern dive systems in the world, and you’ll get the chance to gawp at the surreal stalagmites and stalactites underwater. One-day trips from £97 with Cavern Diving Mexico.

Verdict: It’s worth splashing out a little flashpacking here – as long as you’re spend on memorable experiences, rather than dropping a fortune in pricey bars.

Get there: Fly from London Gatwick to Cancun from £594pp return with Virgin Atlantic.

Rome, Italy

Backpack it: Anyone who read about the recent furore over Rome’s gelato (four British tourists charged £54 for four ice-cream cones) knows it’s not a cheap city. You’ll want to get in, see everything on your ticklist and then get out before you start bouncing cheques. Check out St Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon, Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain for free. As for accommodation, you don’t get much for your money as just a dorm bed will cost around £15-£20.

Flashpack it: The costs are going to add up while you’re here. Entrance to the Colosseum is around £13.50, as is the National Museum Of Modern art and the Vatican Museum. As for the bars and restaurants – the sky’s the limit in terms of prices, so make sure you stay away from the more touristy areas when eating out. 

Verdict: Definitely a place for flashpackers. You’ll spend big just seeing all the key sights. And budget a fair bit for food otherwise you’ll end up chowing down on pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Getting there: Fly from London Gatwick to Rome from £134 return with easyJet.


Barcelona, Spain

Backpack it: To get the most for your money, pick up a Barcelona Card for £28.50 which will get you unlimited public transport, plus entry into heaps of museums and galleries, and a free waterfront cruise on Las Golondrinas. And, of course, there are plenty of  golden-sandy beaches to while away the days on.

Flashpack it: Boy is it possible to drop a lot of money on drinking in Barcelona. Many of the bars and clubs are around the city’s most famous street, La Ramblas, where you can watch entertaining street performers and soak up the busy vibe. The catch? Drinks can cost more than £5 a pop, and club entrance fees up to £20. 

Verdict: If you’ve decided to blow your budget on a night out, might as well be here. Flashpack it!

Get there: Fly London Gatwick to Barcelona from £86 return with easyJet.

Whether you're flashing the cash or are a financially challenged  jet-setter we have deals for all budgets over at TNT Tour Search.

 

Photos: Getty; Thinkstock


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Flashpacking vs Backpacking: Tips on where to splash your cash and when to budget travel
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