There’s a misconceived notion that you have to have a lot of money in order to travel. Going on the adventure of a lifetime doesn’t have to set you back tens of thousands of dollars if you know where to look for bargains. Sites like hostelworld.com, couchsurfing.com and airbnb.com can find you accommodation for just a few dollars every night if you don’t mind sharing a room, not having your own bathroom and forgoing the usual luxuries of a hotel room. Discount aviation carriers have been popping up in every country, offering incredible domestic or continental deals for sometimes just $50-$75 per flight. Longer distances are still pretty pricy, but can be found for great deals by signing yourself up for flight alerts on sites like skyscanner.com and airfarewatchdog.com.
You can get cheap meals almost anywhere in the world if you stick to local markets and no-frills restaurants. While that $200 gastronomic experience might be really great, so will checking out the way locals eat and learning about new tastes and flavors. If you travel around a country by bus or train instead of plane, you can often save hundreds of dollars and explore the local countryside while you’re at it. Below, we’ve compiled a list of ten countries that offer some of the best travel bang for your buck. Whether you’re into nature, art, history or partying, you can be sure you’ll discover at least one country that won’t destroy your bank account for a visit. Happy globe-trotting!
Despite being bordered by the Andes and the Amazon jungle, Bolivia remains largely off the tourist path due to stereotypes about cocaine trafficking and political stability. The country’s president has managed to stabilize these issues in recent years and Bolivia is still considered to be the cheapest country you can visit in South America. If you’re a nature fanatic, this is the place for you – the area offers geographic extremes ranging from tropical climate to dry thornbush and houses one of the widest variety of fauna and wildlife in the world. The Bolivian people are a fascinating mix of Spanish descendants and indigenous cultures so art lovers and foodies are bound to find something of interest to them in the country. A shared hostel room in the country’s capital, La Paz, will run you just $8.00 per night.
Fiji isn’t exactly the first country that comes to most people’s minds when they think of a cheap destination to visit. What most of us have seen in the media usually involves $1500/night resort properties and private beach verandas. However, Fiji has a completely different side to it as well that caterers to travelers on a budget. It’s inexpensive to get around the island, dorm rooms and hostels are to be had for $25 a night and the pristine beaches are free to lounge on. Make sure to take a scuba lesson or two and try out some of the country’s signature seafood.
Ah, India. The colorful land of exotic sights, textures, smells and tastes. While the flight there may set you back a few thousand dollars, being there is dirt cheap if you want it to be. This is a country of great extremes; you can get a luxurious hotel suite for $500.00 per night or get a perfectly comfortable room for $20 if you know where to look. Meals will run you about $2.00 a plate and rickshaws (the Indian version of a taxi) will cost from $3.00 to $7.00. Travel by train or by bus within the country is also inexpensive, which will come in handy when you’re jumping from one exciting city to the next.
Cambodia is one of, if not the cheapest country to visit in Southeast Asia and provides the most bang for your buck. While it can be pretty chaotic compared to its counterparts and is considered slightly unsafe with crime levels against tourists such as theft and assault being relatively high, it is incredibly affordable. Whether you’re into picturesque temples, scenic beaches, busy cities or untouched jungles, Cambodia’s the place for you. You can get an air conditioned private room for under $20 and local food costs just $2 per meal. $50 a day will have you living like the rich.
6. Costa Rica
Whether you’re into surfing, swimming, hiking or just working on your tan at the beach, Costa Rica is one of the cheapest (and most beautiful) islands you can visit in the Caribbean. You can comfortably travel here on $40 a day, this will cover the $8-$15 setback for a dorm bed in a hostel as well as the $3-$7 it costs for a meal and bus tickets within the country. The most expensive part of island hopping is usually the adventures you go on, so choose the DIY route and embark on your own mountain climbs instead of hiring a tour guide.
Bulgaria has long been considered one of Europe’s best travel deals, given that most travelers overlook it in favor of glitzier countries like France, Germany and the Netherlands. Don’t be fooled, though – there’s no shortage of things to do in the lesser known land. Architecture and history buffs will be in paradise here with the multitude of ruins, cathedrals, heritage homes and museums scattered across the country. There’s also a whole new culinary scene to explore and an array of authentic markets to check out. You can live on about $40-$50 per day here.
If you’ve got a social media account, chances are you’ve seen dozens of people’s photos of their visit to Machu Picchu. While the area is surrounded by the Inca Trail and the Sacred Valley, there is so much more to Peru than its main tourist draw. The city of Lima is as cosmopolitan as they come, with a booming art, fashion and culinary scene happening. Smaller Cusco is equally as interesting and caters to nature lovers with its surrounding Andes and nearby Amazon jungle. You can land a hostel room, good meals and entry to the best museums for $50 a day.
Europe was once a haven for backpackers but it’s now just as expensive as anywhere else. More and more travelers are choosing one of the continent’s major hubs and then opting for lesser known gems like Portugal to save themselves some dollars and explore off the beaten path. The country is gorgeous and has it all; sun-soaked beaches, castles, vine-covered alleyways, historic islands and vineyards. A day in Portugal will set you back about $75, which is more than most countries on this list but excellent considering you’re in Europe.
While 2009’s Greek economic crisis was devastating to the country, it had big pay-offs for any lucky tourists planning a trip to the country. Whether you’re smitten with big cities like Athens or like to sun yourself on islands like Mykonos and Santorini, prices across the country have been at an all time low over the past six years. If you had ever dreamed of visiting Greece, now would probably be the time to go. Depending on your travel style, you can enjoy the country for under $30 a day. However, if you’re going to treat yourself to a nice hotel on your Eurotrip, this would be the place to do it. Some luxury hotels are selling their rooms for just $60 per night.
Thailand: the frugal traveler’s wet dream. You’ve heard about it from friends, watched movies about the adventures it offers (hello, The Hangover) and dreamed about someday eating pad thai on a boat cruising crystal blue waters. If you’ve got only a handful of weeks and want to explore a country in its entirety, this might be the best one to visit. You’ll get a big city in Bangkok, a middle sized metropolis filled with temples in Chang Mai and about a gazillion gorgeous islands such as Krabi, Koh Phi Phi and more. Whether you’re a partier, foodie, nature lover or just up for a trip to anywhere, Thailand offers enough to entertain you for a small lifetime without breaking the bank. You can survive on as little as $15 a day and will find a multitude of travel bargains for all budgets.
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