After years of pent-up demand for travel, people are ready to see new and exciting places. Looking to spend less and travel more? While there are plenty of easy ways to save money on vacation no matter where you travel, choosing an affordable destination is key as you plan to embark on a budget travel adventure.
In this guide, we’re sharing the 19 cheapest places to travel on a budget. From destinations closer to home than you might expect to fascinating spots halfway around the globe, you’re sure to have an unforgettable (and affordable!) trip when you choose to travel to one of these countries.
The 19 Cheapest Places to Travel To
One of the biggest misconceptions about travel is that it is unavoidably expensive. Sure, visiting major tourist destinations like Venice or New York might be costly. Still, countless travel options – near and far – provide an even richer experience for a tiny fraction of the cost.
Budget travel is all about choice. For the price that someone may pay for a fancy dinner in one of your favorite restaurants, you can pay that amount on a whole day’s worth of travel expenses in countries such as Vietnam, Mexico, The Philippines, Indonesia, and even Portugal.
Here is a list of unique cheap places to travel to that won’t break your budget. Each country will have many things to do, good food to eat, and affordable living. Remember, the more you save, the more you can travel for your next adventure.
Vietnam is one of the cheapest destinations in Asia to travel to and will leave you with some leftover travel funds to allow you to travel onward to explore other destinations in Southeast Asia.
From the beautiful limestone islands in Halong Bay to the beachside resorts to the lush, great forests and affordable food, Vietnam is well worth the long flight to get here.
With lush jungles, beautiful vistas, and incredible beaches, Thailand is a bucket list destination for many travelers. Thankfully, it is also a very budget-friendly spot, especially for those who skip the most bustling beaches and head off the beaten path to discover some of the country’s best destinations.
One budget-friendly backpacker destination is northern Thailand, and particularly popular is Chiang Mai. Dorms can go for $5 a night with a nice hotel room for $20-30. The affordability of food and the kindness of people will keep those travelers wanting to stay indefinitely.
When people think of Indonesia, they often first think of Bali’s beautiful beaches and rice terraces. While Bali is an excellent destination – and one of the best destinations for working remotely around the world! – Indonesia has much more to offer to budget travelers.
Other big islands like Java and Lombok attract visitors looking to get off the beaten path, and often are much more affordable than highly touristed parts of Bali. You can save and enjoy life simultaneously, which is a plus for any budget-thinking traveler.
4. The Philippines
People visit the Philippines for beautiful beaches, fantastic scuba diving, and great food. There is so much to discover here that backpackers and budget travelers spend weeks or months here just to scratch the service.
Cebu, El Nido, Palawan, and other island destinations are favorites. It is just one of the cheapest places to travel, with affordable accommodations, fantastic food, and inexpensive transportation.
Taiwan is one of the most developed countries in Asia. The country boasts unending beauty, from beaches to the lush green mountains. The people bring hospitality and kindness, and you know you are in one of the safest countries in the world.
Taiwan’s excellent infrastructure means traveling around it is a breeze and relatively inexpensive. With affordable transportation and meals costing less than a couple of dollars, you can venture and see most of the country on a budget.
Could India be the cheapest country on this list? India can be very inexpensive, and with so much diversity of travel destinations – beaches! markets! mountains! ruins! – you’ll have your choice of unforgettable adventures here.
Finding ways to travel on a shoestring is not challenging, with delicious street food and cheap accommodations in hostels and guest houses.
While travelers will need to avoid expensive tours and excursions and make sure to use travel budget hacks to visit the most prominent tourist places in the country, like the Taj Mahal, it’s easy to travel on a budget in India.
Mexico has long been a favorite budget travel destination for US travelers. However, to stick to a budget, you’ll need to skip the major resort cities like Cancún and Playa del Carmen and visit some of the lesser-known but just as lovely cities, towns, and beach resorts that in-the-know travelers have come to love.
Consider visiting gorgeous and affordable smaller cities in central Mexico, like Oaxaca or Guanajuato, where you can find inexpensive food and affordable accommodations.
Or, if you just can’t skip the beach, head to smaller cities on the Yucatan Peninsula or Pacific Coast beach towns like Puerto Escondido.
Guatemala should be on everyone’s list. It is a country full of volcanoes, lush green forests, coffee, and a great climate. They also have sites like Tikal, Lake Atitlan, and the wonderful Semuc Champey.
With so much to see, you would hope this country would be affordable, and it is one of the best affordable countries to travel to. With food as cheap as $1-2 and accommodations ranging from $10-15 at dorms. You can save so much money and see some of the most extraordinary sights in Central America.
Read More: 10 Most Impressive Volcanoes in Guatemala
Medellin, Colombia, at one point, was known as the most dangerous city in the world, but in the past decade or two, Colombia has become a traveler’s paradise and a popular destination with backpackers.
Now travelers from around the world flock to the stunning beaches, soaring mountains, coffee groves, and jungle waterfalls that define Colombia as one of South America’s best travel destinations.
Favorite travel destinations in Colombia include the beaches of Cartagena, and the stunning Rosario Islands and Isla Barú along the coast are some of the most affordable destinations for a Caribbean vacation.
Or, if you’re looking for some adventure travel, trek into the jungle to reach Ciudad Perdida, Colombia’s Lost City.
Bolivia is a unique landlocked country with high altitudes, amazing landscapes, and an incredible slice of the Amazon Rainforest. In Bolivia, the Uyuni Salt Flats is one destination not to miss. It is the most extensive salt flats in the world, giving spectacular views, images, and a travel experience you can’t replicate elsewhere.
While a visit to the major destination of the Uyuni Salt Flats is a bit more costly, you’ll save significantly on the rest of your travel through Bolivia, especially in the affordable but lively capital city of La Paz.
Saving food at local markets, riding on sleeper buses, and checking out cheap hotels or hostels can save you additional funds to take these great adventures around this unique country.
11. Bosnia- Herzegovina
It’s been thirty years since the western Balkans were torn apart by war, and in that time, the area has transformed into a haven for budget travelers looking for an unforgettable destination. From the medieval city of Mostar to stunning landscapes and delicious food, it has so much to offer travelers.
Adjacent to the booming tourist destination of Croatia, Bosnia – Herzegovina offers many of the same attractions at a fraction of the price. Don’t skip this gem!
Perhaps best known for Translyvania and being home to the real-life Dracula, Romania comes on this list as one of the cheapest countries in Europe.
It has hostels ranging from $10-15 a night and food that is hearty and good but does not break the bank. Public transportation is reliable and affordable and allows you to save so much money.
One of the most underrated countries for budget travel is the Republic of Georgia. Sitting by the Caucasus Mountains, this beautiful country is thriving. It has affordable transportation that can cost $1 on the mini-busses to restaurants that may cost as little as $3 a meal.
Georgia is also a haven for remote workers and digital nomads. Offering up to one year of tourist visa validity for almost all travelers, plus a brand new digital nomad visa that makes the country even more attractive for long-term travel, the capital city of Tbilisi is considered one of the best cities in the world for digital nomads.
Albania is a beautiful country that has yet to see the rise of tourism that you may find in neighboring hotspots like Dubrovnik or Hvar, Croatia, or now even in smaller Croatia towns like beautiful Primosten. With beautiful beaches and old Ottoman cities, it is a great place to travel to that is friendly on your budget.
In this untouched country, you learn the history, explore the scenery and save on food and lodging. A meal can cost as low as $2, and a hotel can come in at $10. So check this country out before the wave of tourism brings it closer to many other destinations.
Read More: Sarande, Albania: Ultimate Travel Guide
Traveling to Greece is a case study in one of the most basic budget travel hacks: traveling in the off-season.
While visiting Greece is an expensive vacation during the summer high season, as the off-season comes, prices decrease significantly, with very cheap hostels and hotels. Food like Gyros can be found everywhere and can save you so much money. An easy tip for saving money while traveling (anywhere!), you can shop for local fresh produce and save money just cooking at your accommodation.
You’ll also enjoy some of the other benefits that come with the off-season: vacant tourist destinations like the Acropolis in Athens, the breathtaking caldera in Santorini, and the stunning, off-the-beaten-path beaches in Crete. There is so much to enjoy in this beautiful country, and you don’t need to spend a fortune to do it.
Read More: 12 Best Things To Do in Crete, Greece
16. Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is full of medieval castles, stunning architecture, and a thriving culture. While there is a well-worn and expensive tourist path in this gorgeous Central European culture, venturing off the beaten path will offer budget travelers much more value for their money.
Plus, Pilsen gives you some of the best beer – remember, beer costs less than water here!
Portugal is a place where many expats are heading. What is the appeal of Portugal? You have California weather with budget-friendly prices. Accommodations are cheap, and wine and delicious are available at great prices. The friendliness of the people, the divine weather, and the architectural and natural wonders make Portugal endlessly appealing to travelers.
Turkey is a country at the crossroads of many cultures with many Roman, Ottoman, and Byzantine ruins of ancient civilizations and traditions. It has beautiful mosques, bazaars, and tons of fantastic food for a low price. From the affordable Meditterean beach destinations on the coast to the hustle and bustle of Istanbul, Turkey has someone for every budget traveler.
Read More: 15 Best Things To Do in Istanbul, Turkey
Morocco is a very affordable country and a travel hotspot for visitors from nearby European countries like France and England, who know of the value to be had here for travelers.
Affordable hostels, inexpensive tours, and street vendors offer an array of affordable options around the country. So book your flight and explore what Morocco offers, from olives and mint tea to beautiful cities and desert tent outposts.
Explore on a Budget
Travel does not have to be expensive. With the right tools in your hand and the knowledge of how to live frugally, you can make a trip very affordable. These countries are just a few of the cheapest places to travel to. They won’t break the bank but only allow you to travel more.
Take a chance and find a flight so you can travel and see more of the world.
This post originally appeared on Hello Sensible.
Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.