With travel becoming easier, everyone’s travel lists are getting longer, but many people feel they can’t afford to travel to faraway destinations. But there are so many destinations around the world that can be surprisingly cheap to visit! With a little research, savvy travelers can explore some of the world’s most beautiful destinations, all without breaking the bank. Here are some of the best budget travel destinations for all budgets, from the cheapest places in Asia to surprisingly affordable places in Europe and South America.
Southeast Asia is a popular destination for backpackers due to the affordability of travel, and Laos is no exception. This mountainous country is almost completely covered in forest, making it a haven for outdoor activities like ziplining, rock climbing, tubing, and hiking. Many activities in Laos are also surprisingly inexpensive, and recent increases in tourism mean that more and more budget hotels and hostels are popping up across the country. Spend a night in a treehouse at the Gibbon Experience in Huay Xai, tube down the river in Vang Vieng or visit the incredible temples of Luang Prabang or Vientiane.
Another fantastic economic destination in Southeast Asia is the amazing Vietnam. Like Laos, it is one of the cheapest countries to visit, and it is among the most underrated! Eating local will only cost you a few dollars per meal, and a cup of strong, aromatic coffee costs less than a dollar. If you don’t mind long, slow trips, buses and trains around Vietnam are some of the most affordable in the world, making it easy to explore all of this beautiful country.
Romania is a destination that many travelers haven’t considered, but it’s the perfect place for an off-the-beaten-path and surprisingly affordable trip to Europe. With its charming little medieval villages and rolling Carpathian Mountains, Romania is rich in history and full of outdoor adventures. Money-saving tip: Take advantage of the free walking tours around many of the country’s finest historic sites.
Indonesia can be really cheap or quite expensive, depending on how you travel. Because so much of the country is made up of islands, the cost of boats between them can get very high. But, if you only choose one or two regions to explore, it can be very affordable! Indonesia’s most popular destination is Bali, and with its tropical beaches, stunning volcanoes and impossibly pretty sunsets, it’s not hard to see why. The neighboring islands of Lombok, Java and Komodo are also amazing and can be much cheaper than famous Bali.
Poland is a country steeped in history and culture but often overlooked by other European destinations. From delicious hearty dishes to beautiful historical sites, Poland has so much to offer visitors. Krakow’s main square – Rynek Główny – is charming and is surrounded by cafes, museums, pubs, music bars, souvenir shops and restaurants to relax. Small towns like Gdansk, Wroclaw and Zakopane are all equally beautiful but are even quieter and cheaper to travel.
Colorful Mexico is brimming with culture, nature, and amazing food, and it’s so easy to travel on a budget. Relax on white sand beaches, explore surreal cenotes and fill up on delicious street food. Traveling within an area can be very affordable, although longer distance travel can be expensive, mainly due to Mexico’s size. If you’re hiking and trying to save money, pick an area to explore well to save on travel costs. One of the best travel itineraries is from bustling Mexico City to Oaxaca, ending with some relaxing beach time in the Yucatán Peninsula. For a trip on a budget, discover the jungles, waterfalls and Mayan ruins of the state of Chiapas.
Central America is another region that can be explored on a surprisingly tight budget. Nicaragua, often called the “next Costa Rica,” is an incredible place for surfing, volcano hiking, and diving. Its beaches are world famous but isolated, and the food is cheap but amazing, with plates of rice and plantains costing just a few dollars.
In South America, Colombia is an incredible choice for budget travel. It is a varied land, one of the few countries in South America to span both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, and is home to part of the Amazon rainforest and the start of the Andes mountain range. The bustling cities of Medellín, Bogota and Cartagena have colorful streets and incredible street food to savour.
India is a magical place to discover, and it can be done for a surprisingly cheap price, depending on your itinerary. From the Taj Mahal to the Ganges to watching Bengal tigers, there really is something for everyone in this amazing country. India is big, so budget travelers should pick an area to explore, and many base themselves around bustling Delhi and visit Agra to see the magnificent Taj Mahal. Those with a more flexible budget can use the extensive train network to further explore this diverse country.
1 The Greek Islands
It’s impossible not to fall in love with the idyllic Greek islands. With over a hundred inhabited islands to explore, there’s one for every budget and every traveler. Each island is home to pristine beaches, charming seaside towns and delicious cuisine. The whitewashed buildings stand out against the blue waters and skies. With the exception of Santorini, which is more expensive, many Greek islands are surprisingly affordable and there are convenient ferries to the islands.