It’s safe to say that everyone (or at least most everyone) loves to travel cheap. Seeing the world is one of the best experiences out there. You get to be a part of their culture, have new experiences, create lasting memories and forget about your 9 to 5 for awhile. Unfortunately, there is an aspect of travel that people don’t like: and that’s the expense of it all. Between hotels, flights, food, drinks, and the cost of activities vacations can add up quick. You can negate a lot of this by shopping around for deals/discounts as well as cooking for yourself instead of purchasing meals at restaurants while you’re out. Airbnb as well as hostels are also a great way to travel on the cheap but none of this negates the cost associated with some destination getaway spots. For example, you can probably find a cheap flight to Hawaii and if you search around, you can probably rent a room on Airbnb for about $50 a night… However, your trip to Hawaii can also set you back around $60 a day or more for activities. And that’s not including your hotel or Airbnb fee!
So what do you do if you want to travel but not break the bank? Well, many assume that they have to stay local or at least stay within the United States. Beachfront property and cool destination spots aren’t in your vacay future, right? Wrong! We’ve put together a list of some of the cheapest places to visit throughout the world. Not only will these destination hotspots allow you to save money, but you also won’t have to sacrifice gorgeous views to save some cash either. So without further adieu, get your bags and passports ready. We’re vacay bound!
Hands down, Bali is the biggest bang for your buck. Typically the biggest expense associated with this destination spot is the flight. It’s a long flight pretty much regardless of where you’re flying in from so it tends to be a little pricy. However once you shell out the money for your plane ticket, you’re pretty much in the clear.
You can score your own private room/villa with an infinity pool that overlooks the dense, gorgeous jungle for around $30 a night. That’s far less than you’re likely to spend on a room at the Hilton! The food and activities are also pretty cheap out there. Friends of mine that have been said they had a delicious four-course meal that consisted of fresh vegetables, seafood, fruit, and more for around $10 a person. “The meal would have cost us probably $100 each somewhere else,” my friend said regarding the meal. On average, you’ll only pay $1-$3 for your meals.
Given the affordability you’d assume that you’d have to sacrifice views or things to do but you’d be wrong. Bali has pristine beaches, gorgeous jungles, and tons of history and ruins to explore. Most of these attractions are free as well or will cost you a dollar to visit. People report that the most expensive part of Bali is the massage parlors but even a hot stone massage with essential oils will only set you back $7.
In no time short, you’ll be ballin’ in Bali (sorry not sorry).
Like Bali, Laos is another one of those hidden gems. It’s one of those areas where you can get away with spending around $30 a day including food and accommodations. On average, meals around $3 in Laos and hostels run about $5 to $10 a day. Transportation is a little bit on the high side, but there are lot of things to see that are within walking distance, too.
Sight-seeing is also pretty cheap and rewarding in Laos. There are gorgeous waterfalls that you can visit, dense jungles to explore, and of course plenty of historical sights. For $7, you can also spend a full day tubing along the Vang Vieng river. The inner city is also really cool. There are plenty of shops to visit where you can find a number of handmade goods, spices, and tasty foods.
While there is quite a bit of concern throughout the community about the safety of Laos, those that have been (including backpackers and female travelers) say that they didn’t encounter anything dangerous during their stay. “Obviously you need to be careful about where you go and what you avoid, but that applies to anywhere. Even in the safest American cities, a wrong turn down a dark alley can lead to unpleasant experiences,” visitors say.
If history and immersing yourself into ancient culture is your thing, then you need to check out Cambodia. The city is full of life, sleepy towns, delicious foods, and of course history. Cambodia is home to the infamous Angkor Wat ruins as well as other historical destinations that will pique your interest.
Cambodia is also incredibly affordable. Hostels as well as hotels tend to be pretty cheap; especially for what you get. Some hotels may run you around $50 a night, but you’ll have access to some great amenities like pools! You can also haggle with the locals in regards to travel, souvenirs, and in some cases food. Visiting a restaurant however means that you won’t be able to haggle for your meal like you can with some street vendors, but prices are typically very affordable so you probably won’t feel the need. A trip to Angkor Wat can set you back though. A 3 day pass will cost you $65, but with the amount of money you save elsewhere you can easily afford it.
4. The Philippines
The Philippines is one of those hot spot tourist destinations that many assume cost an arm and a leg to visit. They’re not wrong, but it’s easy to navigate around the prices and visit the beautiful country on the cheap. You just have to be smart about it and do some research. For instance, traveling during the off season can save you a lot of money. And if you want to visit the beaches, don’t worry; they’re warm year around so even if you go in the middle of December, you can still soak up some sun. Booking your flights and planning your travel accommodations ahead of time can also save you big.
The country is home to a number of gorgeous islands that offer absolutely gorgeous beaches, fabulous dive spots, and some hidden gems that you’d have to shell out a pretty penny to see elsewhere. Travel to the islands and locations can get expensive ($10-$15 a trip) but if you’re smart about other aspects of your travel planning, then you can easily afford the cost of a boat ride to the island. And trust me, the views and beaches are totally worth the cost!
Malaysia is another one of those popular destination spots that a lot of budget travelers avoid because they think it’s too expensive; especially given the fact that the city is so well-developed and modern. However, you can stay in the city for as cheap as $10 a night if you find a hostel with a vacancy (which isn’t hard to do.)
There’s also plenty to do in Malaysia. As we mentioned, the city is incredibly well-developed and modern. You can check out chain stores, but you can also step off the beaten path (safely). Doing so will allow you to submerge yourself in Malaysia’s culture and cuisine. You can haggle the price of meals from street vendors, but on average you’re only going to spend $5 a meal so you might not even feel the need to. As far as attractions go, there are plenty of temples, islands, jungles, caves and more to see.
6. Georgia (Europe)
If you’ve ever wanted to travel to Europe but avoid going because of the costs, then look no further than Georgia. This European city is not only gorgeous, but incredibly affordable. And most tourists don’t even need a visa if they plan on staying a year! Now let’s talk price. Meals will run you an average of $3 and you can also travel around via the local mini-bus for about $1. There are tons of museums and historical sites to visit that will cost you less than $2 so you can fit a lot into your schedule without breaking the bank.
What all is there to do in Georgia, exactly? A lot of outdoor activities for the most part! As we mentioned there are museums and historical sites to visit, but the real draw is the hiking, monasteries, and gorgeous outdoor activities/views. You can hike through beautiful mountains, surreal valleys, and even check out some snow-capped peaks.
Mexico in general is one of the best places to travel to if you’re on a budget. However, not all cities are created equal and some can either be outrageously expensive or generally not safe. This is why you’ll want to stick to some of the “touristy” spots and do your research. While there are a bunch of cities we could have listed, we picked Cozumel. It’s not the cheapest city, but it is safe and you can visit it without shelling out a ton of cash.
Staying in Cozumel will probably be your biggest expense, but you can easily find hostels that will save you a lot of money. And in comparison to other tropical destinations, the hotels are far cheaper. Plus, you really can’t beat those beach views. Haggling is a big part of Cozumel culture so that can also save you big on souvenirs, travel, and activities. Some street vendors will also allow you haggle for food, but for the most part their prices are pretty reasonable. Tourist hot spots like Margaritaville will cost you a pretty penny, but you can easily eat up the local cuisine for far cheaper.
There is also a lot to do in Cozumel. There are outdoor markets, oxygen bars, dive spots, beautiful beaches, and historical sites to explore. Regardless of how long you’re staying, we can guarantee you won’t run out of things to see and do.
Now that we’ve soaked up plenty of sun, it’s time to cool off. And what better place to do that than Nepal? This is one of those mountainous, snow covered regions that really enchants you. It’s easy to get lost in the surreal scenery and fall in love with the kind hearted people of Nepalese. Kathmandu also has the bustle of a small, thriving city and you can quickly get swept up in the culture.
This beautiful place also happens to be one of the cheapest places in the world to visit if you’re looking for mountain trekking. Which let’s be honest: that’s one of the biggest draws to Nepal. The routes through the Himalayas are not only free, but they’re also incredibly well-supported and safe. Along the routes, you can find tea houses where you can stop to grab a bite to eat or even stay the night for cheap. This means that you won’t have to leave mid-hike to return to your hotel only to start your journey all over again.
Many tourists say that they’ve done a 7-day trek to Annapurna Base camp for under $20 a day without penny pinching.
If you’re looking to stay local, why not check out Arizona? Arizona is one of those gems in the United states that unfortunately gets overlooked. However, it’s an absolutely stunning state and regardless of what city you pick to stay at, you’ll have no problems finding something to do! The state also offers activities for all age groups, which can be a godsend for families.
To keep costs low, you’ll have to pick your accommodations outside of the tourist trap locations. For example, staying close to the Grand Canyon and other attractions will set you back a pretty penny. But if you don’t mind driving or spending some cash on a cab (which is generally cheaper than spending the night at some of these hotels), then it’s well worth saving the money. A room close to the Grand Canyon can run you $100+ a night whereas you can find a hotel room that’s close if not better for half that price if you travel outside of the city.
Mountains, deserts, museums, the Grand Canyon, rivers, and all sorts of outdoor activities and sites await you in this beautiful state.
Nicaragua is one of those gems with so much to do that you’ll never get bored and you also won’t break the bank the either. Nicaragua is home not only to beautiful volcanic peaks, jungle treks, Mayan sites, and gorgeous beaches, but you can also find a number of crazy parties here too! Many backpackers herald this spot as one of their favorites. “It’s cheap, it’s easy to navigate, and it’s also safe,” many say.
How cheap are we talking though? Well, you can easily a score a room for under $10 a night. Hostels are even cheaper! As far as food goes, you can find street fare for under a dollar and it’s incredibly tasty. Many of the outdoor activities (beaches included) are also free. Travel is pretty affordable and many backpackers report that hitchhiking is safe and effective here as well. What about the parties though? Surely those are expensive! Nope. According to tourists, the alcohol is dirt cheap and many of the parties don’t charge admission. “Most of them take place on the street, beach or somewhere with empty space. So, there’s not really a point in charging admission. Even if you visit their clubs, admission is pretty cheap if they’re charging anything at all. And the alcohol is obnoxiously cheap so even if you pay a dollar to get through the doors, you can still stick your budget,” those who have been say.