The Best Cheap Travel Destinations: Unveiling Hidden Gems and Budget-Friendly Adventures

2023-11-10 05:19:28 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.
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Looking to explore the world on a budget? Look no further! We've rounded up the best cheap travel destinations from all corners of the globe. Whether you're seeking stunning natural beauty, mouthwatering street food, or vibrant cultural experiences, this article has got you covered. From the bustling streets of Bangkok to the hidden gems of Guatemala, we've scoured the globe to bring you the most affordable and unforgettable destinations. So, grab your passport and get ready to embark on an adventure without breaking the bank. Let's dive into the world of the best cheap travel destinations together!


Thailand is now open for tourism and it's a great time to visit. The popular tourist destinations are still relatively uncrowded, so you can enjoy the sights without the crowds.

If you're looking for a budget-friendly trip, consider exploring the inland provinces instead of the resort islands and beaches. Thailand offers great value for travelers of all budgets.

For the best prices, head to the northern region of Chiang Mai. Here, amidst the beautiful rice fields, Buddhist temples, and hill tribes, you'll find affordable accommodations. Whether you're looking for a budget dorm bed or a quality hotel with a swimming pool, Chiang Mai has options for every budget.

Maya Bay, a famous location, has recently been restored to its pristine state. Boat traffic is now banned, and the number of visitors is limited, making it picture-perfect once again.

Backpacker Budget: $30 a day (inland)Mid-range Budget: $50- a dayHighlights: beautiful beaches, ancient temples, delicious street foodWhen to go: peak season Nov-Feb — shoulder season Apr-Jun, Oct


“This region might not be popular among Americans at the moment, but there are several countries worth considering if you're traveling on a budget,” says Morrow.

  1. India: $5,666
  2. Thailand: ,393
  3. Philippines: ,054
Overlooking the Giza pyramids in Egypt—the cheapest place to visit in Africa.



“Europe is always a popular travel destination, but it can be expensive. However, there are some places in Europe that you can visit without breaking the bank,” says Morrow.

  1. Austria: ,932
  2. Poland: ,130
  3. Germany: ,369
Old San Juan's Morro Castle in Puerto Rico—the cheapest place to visit in the Caribbean.



1 USD = 379.64 HUF

Hungary's favorable economy makes it an ideal destination for travelers planning a trip to Budapest. The city offers a growing scene of Michelin-starred restaurants and high-tech spas that attract visitors from around the world. Budapest has a range of accommodation options, from affordable boutique hotels to luxurious five-star properties like the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest. Indulge in the city's hedonistic pleasures and immerse yourself in its rich cultural heritage.

Book now at ExpediaBook now at


1 USD = 18.63 TRY

Turkey offers a range of options for budget travelers. While touring major landmarks and staying at luxury hotels in Istanbul can be expensive, there are affordable alternatives. Explore non-touristy restaurants and street food vendors, and visit free attractions like the Grand Bazaar and Hagia Sophia.

Turkey, $45/day

The Cheapest Travel Destinations In the World in 2023Turkey can be cheap or expensive, depending on your preferences and travel style. A hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia can cost around $400-$500, and intercity travel can be lengthy and costly. However, there are many other affordable experiences in Turkey that offer incredible value. The stunning Blue Mosque in Istanbul, the white travertines in Pamukkale, and the bustling bazaars throughout the country are all relatively affordable to visit. Accommodation, meals, transportation, and even SIM cards with data are available at reasonable prices.

  • Meals: $10 – $15 per day. Some hostels offer complimentary breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $12 – $20 per night in a hostel
  • Transportation: $1 – $3 for a taxi ride or $30 – for an intercity overnight bus ride
  • SIM card with data: for 2GB with 30-day validity


Mexico is one of the cheapest places to travel in 2021 thanks to currency exchange fluctuations

Mexico is known for its beach resorts like Cancun, Cabo, and Tulum, but there are other affordable options to explore. One popular route for budget travelers is from bustling Mexico City to cultural and culinary hotspot Oaxaca, and finally to the beautiful Yucatan Peninsula. If you're on a budget, consider visiting Chiapas state, which offers stunning natural landscapes, waterfalls, and Mayan ruins at a fraction of the cost compared to touristy areas.

Backpacker Budget: $40 a dayMid-range Budget: a dayHighlights: exploring the Yucatan, Mexico City, culinary delights of OaxacaWhen to go: peak season Jun-Sep, Jan — shoulder season Oct-Nov, Apr-May


The famous Great Wall of China rolling over the landscapeChina has captivated travelers for centuries. While it's no longer a dirt-cheap destination, it still offers great value for budget travelers, especially if you venture beyond the big cities. While the cities themselves offer bargain prices for accommodation, food, and local transportation, the best deals can be found in the interior where you'll find stunning landscapes and a wealth of cultural experiences.


Cape Town, South Africa


South Africa is a bucket list destination and one of the best places to travel in 2023. Despite its popularity, it can be affordable, especially with the recent introduction of non-stop flights and favorable exchange rates. Hotels in South Africa can cost $100 or less, and the country offers a wide range of affordable dining options. Explore the vibrant city of Cape Town, visit historic sites like Robben Island, and discover the stunning Cape Town Winelands.

Toronto, Canada

North America

Cosmopolitan Toronto is a popular destination in Canada and easily accessible from many parts of the United States. The strong U.S. dollar makes it an affordable city to visit. You can find great deals on hotels and airfare, with overnight stays averaging $202 a night and round-trip flights around $375. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the iconic CN Tower for stunning views and explore the city's beautiful beaches along Lake Ontario.

Bangkok, Thailand


Thailand is an underrated travel destination known as the "Land of Smiles." Bangkok, the capital city, offers a budget-friendly experience for travelers. It's often associated with backpacking, but it also offers luxury experiences at affordable prices. Bangkok has the cheapest luxury car rentals, Michelin-starred meals, and five-star hotels in the world. You can start your day exploring the city's golden temples along the Chao Phraya River and end it with a tuk-tuk ride to experience the local culture.

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

South America

Uruguay is a hidden gem in South America, offering a laid-back atmosphere and great value for travelers. The exchange rate is favorable for Americans, with 26 Uruguayan pesos to 1 U.S. dollar. The historic city of Colonia del Sacramento is a must-visit for history buffs, with its well-preserved architecture and charming streets. Explore the colorful homes, restaurants, and shops, and indulge in delicious Uruguayan street food. Accommodation options range from affordable boutique hotels to well-known chains like Sheraton.

Prague, Czech Republic


Prague is a historical city in Europe known for its charm and culture. It offers a range of affordable attractions, from the classic pubs to the medieval Charles Bridge. You can explore the city's castle district and visit wineries in the lovely countryside. Prague is also known for its affordable luxury hotels, where you can enjoy a comfortable stay at a reasonable price. With its well-preserved architecture and rich history, Prague is a budget-friendly destination for travelers in Europe.

Mexico City, Mexico

North America

Mexico City in North America is a destination that offers great value for your money. It is home to numerous historical sites, world-class museums, and art centers with affordable admission fees. With an exchange rate of over 18 pesos to $1, your dollars can go a long way in Mexico City.

If you're looking for all-inclusive resorts, Mexico has some of the best options. These resorts offer a pay-one-price model that includes your room, food, beverages, and activities, making them a budget-friendly choice. If you prefer standard hotels or Airbnbs, Mexico City has plenty of affordable options for lodging and flights. Get ready to save money while enjoying all that Mexico City has to offer.

Save money in Istanbul, Turkey

With its unique position spanning Europe and Asia, Istanbul offers a captivating experience. While popular attractions like the Aya Sofya, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace can be expensive, there are still ways to enjoy Istanbul on a budget.

Take a Bosphorus ferry, explore the Grand Bazaar, or indulge in a freshly-cooked kebab to truly immerse yourself in the city. Discover the rich Turkish cuisine before you go by reading our Turkish food guide. Istanbul also offers budget-friendly accommodations and can be a great starting point for further exploration in Turkey.

Blue mosque, Instanbul © OPIS Zagreb/ShutterstockIstanbul, Turkey © Shutterstock

Mason, Ohio

North America

Mason, Ohio is a perfect destination for families looking for cheap vacations. Located in the Midwest, Ohio offers both fun and savings. It is known for its theme parks, making it a thrilling destination for kids and adults alike. In fact, according to experts, Kings Island in Mason, Ohio offers the best value for a family of four compared to other amusement parks in the US.

With affordable hotels, low food costs, and great road trip opportunities, Ohio is a budget-friendly choice for family vacations.

Cartagena, Colombia

South America

Located on the Caribbean coast, Cartagena in Colombia is a romantic and tropical paradise. With its rich cultural heritage, colorful castles, cobblestone streets, and colonial churches, the city offers a unique experience for travelers.

Cartagena is also known for its affordable cost of living. You can enjoy coffee for less than a quarter and savor delicious meals for just $4. Don't forget to try the local specialty, arepa con queso (corn cake with cheese). The city is also a setting for the works of Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez.

Lisbon, Portugal


Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, offers the best of Europe at an affordable price. It has been recognized for its affordable international airfare and low-cost nightly hotel prices. The city's winding cobblestone streets, lined with shops, restaurants, and statues, provide a picturesque experience.

Lisbon is perfect for budget travelers who want to enjoy great food without breaking the bank. From sampling egg custard tarts for just 1 euro to trying the signature Portuguese cherry liquor for about 1.20 euro, there are plenty of affordable culinary delights. Don't miss the opportunity to listen to traditional Portuguese folk music, known as Fado, at spots like the Tasca do Chico.

Egypt for one of the most memorable cheap travel destinations

Egypt is a country that offers incredible ancient sights at a surprisingly affordable price. While popular attractions like the Pyramids, the Valley of the Kings, and Abu Simbel can increase costs, there are still ways to experience the wonders of Egypt without breaking the bank.

Explore the abundance of cheap and excellent food options, and find decent budget accommodation. However, it's important to check the latest travel advice due to safety concerns in certain areas.

Small Temple of Nefertari, Abu Simbel, Egypt © ShutterstockEgypt is a fantastic travel destination © Shutterstock

Las Vegas, Nevada

North America

Las Vegas is a city that offers affordable flights year-round, especially if you know the best travel tips. It has been recognized as a top spot for culture, cuisine, and adventure that won't break the bank.

Dining and accommodation options are available at budget-friendly prices, even at five-star hotels. With affordable airfare, free shuttle services, and a vibrant atmosphere, Las Vegas is a destination that offers great value for your money.

Shanghai, China for delicious street food

Shanghai in China is a destination that caters to budget travelers with its abundance of amazing street food. From xiao long bao soup dumplings to scallion pancakes and sticky rice parcels, there's plenty to indulge in.

Accommodations in Shanghai can be found at affordable prices, allowing you to explore the city's busy streets on foot. Experience the charm of old and new China while savoring delicious street eats.

lujiazui-shanghai-china-shutterstock_425475433Shanghai for street food and more © Shutterstock

The Gambia for a cheap destination with nature

The Gambia, Africa's smallest country, is known for its beautiful beaches and fascinating wildlife. While the country offers stunning beach experiences, there's much more to explore.

Visit the Chimp Rehabilitation Centre in the River Gambia National Park to witness primates in their natural habitat. For bird enthusiasts, the Baobolong Wetland Reserve is a must-visit. The Gambia provides affordable accommodations and off-the-beaten-track experiences for nature lovers.

green-vervet-monkey-shutterstock_178117055Gambia is Africa's smallest country © Dave Montreuil/Shutterstock

Laos for national parks and more

Laos stands out as one of the cheapest places to travel in Southeast Asia. The country offers a unique and mesmerizing experience with its slow pace and beautiful landscapes.

Explore the riverside town of Nong Khiaw for a peaceful retreat and enjoy the scenic beauty of the karst-surrounded river. Laos is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, with its national parks and opportunities for hiking and biking.

song-river-at-vang-vieng-laos-shutterstock_655851064Laos is famous for its national parks and more © akedesign/Shutterstock

New Orleans — one of the cheapest major cities in the USA

New Orleans is a city that immerses you in music and culture. With live performances and music in every corner, you can enjoy the city's vibrant musical heritage without spending much. Take the time to explore the city on foot, savoring coffee and sugar-dusted beignets at the Café du Monde.

Discover the best cocktail bars and experience the unique atmosphere of New Orleans. The city offers budget-friendly accommodations and an unforgettable cultural experience.

Bourbon St, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA © Sean Pavone/ShutterstockBourbon St, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA © Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Bolivia for natural beauty on a budget

Bolivia is known for its breathtaking natural beauty and affordability. Despite its incredible sights, travelling in Bolivia can be budget-friendly. A visit to the Salar de Uyuni salt flats is a must, offering a unique and unforgettable experience.

Plan your trip with a budget guide and explore the best that Bolivia has to offer. It's a destination that offers incredible value for nature enthusiasts.

Uyuni-bolivia-shutterstock_101551633Salar de Uyuni - Bolivia is one of the cheapest places to travel in South America © Shutterstock

India: an all-time favourite for budget travellers

India is a vast country that remains one of the ultimate destinations for budget travelers. Few countries offer extensive travel opportunities and affordable dining options like India.

From the gorgeous beaches of Gokarna to the street stalls of Mumbai, India provides a range of experiences for every budget. Explore off the tourist trail and discover the rich culture and cuisine of India.

Varanasi, Ganges, India © ShutterstockVaranasi, India © Shutterstock

Bulgaria for an underrated tourist destination

Bulgaria is an underrated gem in Europe, offering deserted beaches, old towns, and dramatic mountain ranges. Varna on the coast is a great destination for beach lovers, while ancient Plovdiv showcases the country's cultural heritage.

Explore Bulgaria on foot or by bike and discover its natural beauty. With affordable accommodations and breathtaking landscapes, it's a budget-friendly destination waiting to be explored.

Panoramic view of Golden Sands beach (Zlatni Piasci) in Bulgaria © Aleksandar Todorovic/ShutterstockThe underrated country of Bulgaria © Aleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock

Guatemala: An Affordable Destination to Learn Spanish

Guatemala is a captivating country that offers a blend of natural beauty, rich Mayan traditions, and colonial history. What makes it even more appealing is its low cost, making it one of the best places to study Spanish.

Once you have mastered the language, take a ride on one of Guatemala's famous camionetas, also known as "chicken buses," to explore the country. Visit the charming city of Antigua in the south, explore Guatemala City, or be amazed by the monumental Mayan temples of Tikal.

For planning your trip, check out the best time to visit Guatemala. You can also easily extend your trip to explore more of Central America.

Find budget-friendly accommodations in Guatemala for your stay.

el-arco-antigua-city-agua-volcano-guatemala-shutterstock_769890442Discover affordable accommodation options in Guatemala and more © Shutterstock

Antigua, Guatemala

North America

If you're searching for the next trendy city in Central America, head to Antigua in Guatemala (not to be confused with Antigua, the Caribbean island). This well-preserved colonial town is located near the fascinating Pacaya volcano. For just $22, you can join a local guide for a half-day walking tour of the volcano, including the park entry fee, a water bottle, and transportation to and from your hotel. You can even roast marshmallows with the heat from the volcano, creating a truly unique experience at one of the natural wonders of the world.

Hotels in Antigua average around $118 per night, and the average airfare is about $340 for a round trip. The best time to visit is from November to March to avoid the rainy season, although prices may be slightly higher. Consider visiting just before November or after March for better deals and weather in the shoulder season.

Westend61/Getty Images

Page, Arizona

North America

When it comes to affordable travel destinations with stunning road trip scenery, Page, Arizona, takes the top spot. This desert location offers affordable accommodations and breathtaking sights. The average price for a weekend hotel stay in this northern Arizona town is just per night, making it a great choice for a budget vacation in the West. Page is also a perfect base for exploring the natural wonders of the area, including Vermilion Cliffs National Park and Rainbow Bridge National Monument, both of which offer inexpensive outdoor entertainment.

While Page has its own airport, consider flying into Flagstaff for more flight options and lower airfare, with an average cost of around $368 for a round trip. Avoid the summer months, when temperatures are high and the national parks are crowded. Spring and fall offer lower prices, better weather, and fewer tourists.

Starcevic/Getty Images


1 USD = 110.46 RSD

Belgrade is emerging as one of Europe's most vibrant cultural hubs, and the best part is that it's significantly more affordable than cities like Paris or Berlin. You can find hotels for under $100, although accommodations might not be the priority when you spend your nights dancing in the city's clubs. However, you'll want to get some rest to explore Belgrade's wealth of museums and contemporary art installations, many of which have recently opened.

Ohrid North Macedonia



"Although it's not the most expensive region to visit, Oceania can be a long journey for most Americans," says Morrow.

  1. Fiji: $4,917
  2. Australia: ,706
  3. New Zealand: $15,478
A view of Florence in Italy—the most popular international destination to travel, according to a new ... [ ] report.



"If you're looking for a bucket list trip, Africa is by far the most expensive area of the world to visit," says Morrow.

  1. Egypt: $13,177
  2. Zambia: $20,196
  3. South Africa: $22,514
Fiji was named one of the cheapest places to travel in the world in a new report. Pictured here: A ... [ ] view of Wadigi and Malolo islands.


South America

"Several countries in South America have become popular over the years, and a vacation here doesn't have to break the bank," says Morrow.

  1. Colombia: $5,876
  2. Argentina: ,003
  3. Brazil: $11,510
The Taj Mahal in Agra, India—the cheapest place to visit in Asia.


North America

"If you're looking for an alternative to the Caribbean, these countries south of the U.S. are a good option," says Morrow. Fun fact: In North America, the United States came in fourth on the list with an average cost of ,664.

  1. Panama: $4,520
  2. Honduras: $4,751
  3. Mexico: $5,104
A sunset over Cartagena, Colombia—the cheapest place to visit in South America.


The Caribbean

"This region remains popular with American travelers because there are some excellent deals to be had. And you can't beat the weather," says Morrow.

  1. Puerto Rico: $4,392
  2. Jamaica: $4,695
  3. The Bahamas: $4,703
Standup paddleboarding in Panama—the cheapest place to visit in North America.



Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the cheapest country in Southeast Asia

You've probably heard of Angkor Wat, a sprawling temple complex that was once the heart of the ancient Khmer empire. But Cambodia has much more to offer, from the charming town of Kratie along the Mekong River to the unspoiled jungles of the Cardamom Mountains and the laid-back island of Koh Rong Sanloem. And the best part is that Cambodia is one of the most affordable destinations in Asia.

Backpacker Budget: $25 a dayMid-range Budget: $45 a dayHighlights: Angkor Wat, Battambang, islands off the coastWhen to go: peak season Dec-Feb, shoulder season Apr-May, Nov


1 USD = 11,260.00 UZS

Uzbekistan is an exciting and affordable destination in Central Asia that is still relatively undiscovered by foreign travelers. The major cities are filled with intricate mosques and striking brutalist monuments, all of which you can explore for free. When it comes to dining out, you'll be hard-pressed to spend more than $5 per meal at local restaurants. While there aren't many well-known hotel chains yet, even top hotels like the Hyatt Regency Tashkent have affordable nightly rates below $170.

Book now with Expedia.Book now with Hyatt

North Macedonia

1 USD = 57.87 MKD

North Macedonia is one of Europe's most underrated (and affordable) countries. This landlocked nation offers a treasure trove of experiences, especially in the charming city of Ohrid. With its cobbled streets, quaint churches, and stunning Lake Ohrid, it's a must-visit destination that offers great value.


1 USD = 4.39 MYR

Malaysia offers great value for travelers, especially if you indulge in delicious street food and explore cities like Kuala Lumpur on foot. The country also offers inexpensive or even free access to pristine beaches, limestone caves, and breathtaking tea plantations. If you're willing to splurge, consider staying at The Datai Langkawi—it may be expensive, but it's worth every penny.

Sri Lanka

1 USD = 365.65 SLR

Sri Lanka has become even more affordable in recent years, with the Sri Lankan rupee being highly favorable for travelers. This incredible island nation offers a diverse range of attractions, from lush tea plantations and Buddhist temples to golden beaches and unique elephant sanctuaries. It's a destination that offers incredible value for the money.


1 USD = 5.32 BRL

Brazil is a budget-friendly destination in South America, where your dollars can go a long way. With the favorable exchange rate of 5.32 Brazilian reals per dollar, you can get even more value for your money. Rio de Janeiro is a popular choice, with its stunning beaches and incredible hotels like The Emiliano. Don't forget to explore São Paulo, where a younger generation has revitalized the city with hip galleries, museums, and bars.

South Korea

1 USD = 1,295.74 KRW

While Seoul, Busan, and Jeju Island are the popular tourist destinations in South Korea, consider visiting Mokpo in the Jeolla region. This port city offers unique dining experiences and specialty dishes like hongeo, attracting food lovers from around the world.

The Balkans

Clear, stunning water near the lush mountains of Albania

The Balkans, located in southeastern Europe, offers the most affordable travel experience in Europe. This region, consisting of several countries that are off the beaten path for tourists, provides incredible value for adventurous travelers. Explore cheap wine, stunning nature, beautiful coastlines, hearty food, and vibrant nightlife. The Balkans is Europe's best-kept secret.

You can get by with as little as $30 USD per day, which is a fraction of the cost in Western Europe. Groceries for a week can cost as little as $25 USD, and a beer typically costs around $2 USD.

While safety used to be a concern in the past, the region has greatly improved over the years. There is a growing backpacking trail, and tourism is on the rise. Visit the Balkans before it becomes overcrowded and prices skyrocket.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

North America

Punta Cana offers idyllic beaches with turquoise waters, soft sand, and miles of coastline. The area is known for its fabulous all-inclusive resorts and affordable beachfront hotels. With a wide range of options, you can find accommodations for less than $350 per night. The abundance of properties also leads to competition in both amenities and pricing. Just make sure to avoid peak periods like Christmas and Easter. Additionally, you can find airfare for around $300.

Eric Peterson/Getty Images

Fort Wayne, Indiana

North America

Fort Wayne, Indiana, may not be the first place that comes to mind for a vacation, but it offers great value for families. The city has plenty of entertainment options and is home to attractions like the Children's Zoo, which offers 40 acres of rides and hands-on experiences. After visiting the animals, you can explore the Tree Canopy Trail, enjoy a fully accessible playground, or have fun in the kids canal at Promenade Park. Many activities in the city are free, and there are discount passes available each season for access to top attractions.

When it's time to eat, head to Union Street Market, a delicious food hall located in an 1800s General Electric campus that offers big flavors for small prices. A night in a hotel room in Fort Wayne averages about $126, and airfare tends to be around 12% higher in July.

Preto_perola/Getty Images

Verona, Italy


If you believe that traveling to Italy always means an expensive trip, think again. According to a survey, Verona, Italy is the third-cheapest destination in the world for luxury vacations. Verona is famous for being the setting of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, as well as its medieval old town and the Roman amphitheater, Verona Arena. To save money on airfare, consider flying into Milan and then taking a fast, efficient, and inexpensive Italian rail to Verona from the Milan Station.

Photo by Mike Kline (notkalvin)/Getty Images

Granada, Spain


A city break doesn't have to be expensive, especially in Granada, Spain. With its numerous free activities and attractions, Granada is one of the best cheap places to travel. One of the highlights is the Alhambra, a palace and fortress complex that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also enjoy the vibrant nightlife in Granada with its 86 bars and nightclubs that offer inexpensive food and drinks. When it comes to accommodation, luxury boutique hotels start at just $50 per night. Remember to choose the best time to visit Spain before booking your flights!

© Ian Laker Photography/Getty Images

Hanoi, Vietnam


For a luxurious stay without breaking the bank, consider visiting Hanoi, Vietnam. This cultural capital offers five-star rooms for just $118 per night. One of the highlights of Hanoi is its custom tailoring, where you can have clothes made to order at affordable prices. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy activities like surfing, volcano hiking, and diving. To get the best deals on airfare, plan your trip for early spring or fall.

Hydra Island, Greece © Anastasios71/ShutterstockGreece — one of the best budget destinations © Anastasios71/Shutterstock

Greece has faced economic challenges in recent years, making it an affordable destination for travelers. Support the local economy by visiting Greece and exploring the beautiful Greek islands and beaches. Make sure to pay for as much as you can in advance with a credit card and bring enough cash for your travels. Follow travel tips from Nick Edwards, co-author of The Rough Guide to Greece, and don't miss out on trying the delicious Greek food.

Cuba: a cheap destination with very few tourists

With improving relations between Cuba and the US, now is the perfect time to visit this Caribbean island before prices increase. Experience the vibrant nightlife of Havana, immerse yourself in the July carnival of Santiago, or relax on the picture-perfect beaches in Cuba. Explore the country with these backpacking tips and make sure to visit during the best time of the year.

Colombia, $35/day

Colombia is becoming an affordable destination, offering history, nature, and great diving sites. Visit museums and historical sites in Bogota, explore the Lost City, and enjoy outdoor activities like surfing and volcano hiking. With affordable accommodation, transportation, and food, you can have an amazing trip without breaking the bank.

Nicaragua, $35/day

Nicaragua is one of the cheapest Central American destinations to travel to. Enjoy surfing, volcano hiking, and diving in this affordable and fun country. Experience the colonial cities and relax on the beautiful beaches. Take the necessary safety precautions and check official advisories before traveling.

Latvia, $47/day

Explore the forests, lakes, and rivers of Latvia, perfect for outdoor activities like canoeing. Visit during fall or winter to experience the changing leaves or enjoy the Christmas markets. Wander through enchanting forests with hidden castles. Traveling in Latvia can be done on a budget with affordable meals, accommodation, transportation, and a Baltic SIM card.

Estonia, $44/day

Nature lovers will enjoy Estonia, with over half of the country covered in forests. Explore national parks, charming small towns, and the capital city of Tallinn. Travel on a budget with affordable meals, accommodation, transportation, and a Baltic SIM card.

Lithuania, $44/day

Lithuania is an affordable and charming destination. Experience the vibrant nightlife in Vilnius, visit the Old Town in Kaunas, and explore the Curonian Spit. Enjoy delicious food and take advantage of affordable accommodation. Take note of safety concerns and book in advance.

Turkey, $45/day

Turkey offers a range of experiences, from hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia to exploring historical sites like the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Traveling through Turkey can be affordable if you plan well, avoid peak tourist seasons, and choose essential expenses wisely.

Croatia, $47/day

Croatia is a perfect destination for lovers of turquoise waters, sunshine, and parties. Explore the beautiful islands, picturesque beaches, and charming small towns. Travel during the shoulder season to save money and avoid crowds.

Poland, $44/day

Poland offers a rich cultural and historical experience with affordable entrance fees to museums and historical sites. Enjoy delicious food and explore cities like Krakow, Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw, and Zakopane. Take advantage of affordable accommodation, transportation, and a SIM card with data.

Czech Republic, $40/day

The Cheapest Travel Destinations In the World in 2023

With an increasing number of tourists visiting the Czech Republic, particularly Prague, for its rich history and affordable beer, prices have risen in recent years. However, it remains one of the most budget-friendly countries in central Europe, especially if you venture beyond Prague to experience authentic Czech culture in places like Cesky Krumlov and Telc. Local transportation is reliable and affordable, and if you plan on traveling extensively, consider purchasing a 3-day pass for $16.

Czech cuisine is hearty and generous in portion size. While it may not be the healthiest option (most meals consist of potatoes and meat), it will certainly keep you satisfied while stretching your budget. Opt for lunch at local restaurants and have a light snack for dinner. Admission fees to historical sites and museums can be quite expensive (e.g., $18 to enter Prague Castle), but you can still appreciate the architecture from the outside and choose the most intriguing places to explore.

  • Meals: $10 – $15 per day
  • Accommodation: $12 – $20 per night in a hostel
  • Transportation: $5 for a full day of tram rides, $15-$20 for an intercity bus ride
  • SIM card with data: $13 for 2GB with 1-month validity

Greece, $45/day

sailing greek islands poros

Timing is crucial when it comes to budget travel in Greece. While the prices of flights, accommodation, and tours have decreased significantly since the country's debt crisis in 2010, the summer months are still more expensive than other times of the year. To save money, avoid traveling in July and August, which are the hottest and busiest months in Greece. Instead, consider visiting a few weeks before or after summer to enjoy smaller crowds and lower prices. Additionally, you can reduce food costs by purchasing fresh produce from local markets and preparing your own meals. A picnic on the beach can be just as enjoyable as a meal at a restaurant!

Take advantage of free walking tours as a budget-friendly way to explore the area. If you plan on island hopping in Greece, carefully plan your itinerary to minimize transportation costs. Sometimes, a domestic flight can be cheaper than a long bus ride.

Kyrgyzstan, $25/day

The Cheapest Travel Destinations In the World in 2023

Kyrgyzstan is a popular destination for travelers interested in experiencing Central Asia on a budget. Food and transportation in Kyrgyzstan are affordable, particularly public transportation via minibusses. Public transportation prices are fixed and are among the cheapest options for traveling within the country. Accommodation options include hostels in major cities and local homestays in rural areas, with prices below $10. If you plan on embarking on a multi-day hike, such as the Tian Shan Mountains trek, tour prices often include most expenses.

  • Meals: $4 – per day
  • Accommodation: – $12 per night in a hostel or a local guesthouse
  • Transportation: $0.20 for a local minibus ride or $4 for an intercity bus ride
  • SIM card with data: $3 for 3GB with 30-day validity (may not work in mountainous areas)

– Read More –

A quick guide to Kyrgyzstan

Georgia, $30/day

The Cheapest Travel Destinations In the World in 2023

Georgia is an underrated European destination known for its affordability and stunning beauty. The country allows most visitors to enter without a visa and stay for up to one year, making it even more appealing. Quality hostels are available at reasonable prices, and you can enjoy a meal at a local restaurant for as low as $3. Local minibusses offer inexpensive transportation options, and entrance fees to museums and historical sites are generally less than $2. The locals are welcoming, and hitchhiking is a viable option for both short and long-distance travel. With countless day trips, hikes, and monasteries to explore, Georgia is perfect for travelers with more time than money.

  • Meals: $10 – $15 per day
  • Accommodation: $10 – $15 per night in a hostel
  • Transportation: $3 – $5 for a full day of bus and train rides or $5-$10 for an intercity ride (hitchhiking is also an option!)
  • SIM card with data: $3 for 1GB with 1-month validity

Taiwan, $45/day

taiwan cheapest place to travel to

When it comes to street food, Taiwan is a budget traveler's paradise. For less than $2, you can enjoy a plate of fragrant rice with pork or chicken, a large deep-fried chicken chop, or a delicious bowl of vermicelli with oysters. The country offers a variety of affordable and mouthwatering options. In cities like Taipei and Tainan, you can also take advantage of inexpensive city bikes, costing less than $0.50 per hour or even free for the first 30 minutes. This makes getting around the city extremely affordable.

However, it's worth noting that high-end food and clothing prices in Taiwan can be comparable to those in the US. Inter-city travel can be expensive, especially if using the High-Speed Rail (HSR), although slightly cheaper options are available. Internet costs are also not as cheap as in other countries mentioned above.

  • Meals: $5 – $10 per day (some hostels provide breakfast)
  • Accommodation: $10 – $35 per night in a hostel (recommended hostel in Taipei: this one!)
  • Transportation: $0 – $3 for a full day of bike, bus, and train rides or $20 – $40 for an HSR ride between cities
  • SIM card with data: $33 for unlimited data with 28-day validity

Nepal, $30/day ($15/day if trekking)

thurong la pass nepal

Nepal is an incredibly affordable country to travel through, with food, accommodation, and transportation available for just a few dollars when utilizing local options. While street food in Nepal is not renowned for its cleanliness, you can find cheap and delicious home-cooked meals in local-run cafes. When booking accommodation online, be wary of big corporations that have transformed local guesthouses into boutique hotels and resorts. Instead, consider booking the first few nights online and searching for authentic local guesthouses upon arrival.

If you choose to trek in Nepal, you can travel for as little as $10 per day on food and accommodation at lower elevations, increasing to around $20 per day at higher elevations on popular routes like the Annapurna Circuit. Independent trekking is a budget-friendly option, excluding Mount Everest, which is considerably more expensive.

  • Meals: $5 – $10 per day (some hostels provide breakfast)
  • Accommodation: -$12 per night in a local guesthouse
  • Transportation: $10-$15 per person for a private car and driver split between 4 people or a local bus ride between cities
  • SIM card with data: $3 for 1.25GB with 30-day validity

– Read More –

A complete guide to Nepal

Malaysia, $40/day

tioman island beach

Malaysia, as one of the most economically developed countries in Southeast Asia, is often perceived as expensive. However, upon closer inspection, it offers affordable options for travelers. While some individuals advised against spending much time in Malaysia, the country provides ample opportunities to connect with locals and explore the beautiful Cameron Highlands, the jungles of Borneo, and its stunning islands. The best part is that these experiences are budget-friendly. For example, an overnight bus from Kuala Lumpur to the Perhentian Islands costs as little as $15, while there are numerous fascinating local neighborhoods and markets to explore for free. Additionally, Malaysian cuisine is diverse, delicious, and inexpensive. Malaysia is also one of the most affordable places in the world to obtain a PADI scuba diving certificate.

The only potential expense in Malaysia is alcohol, which is heavily taxed. However, if you do not plan on drinking excessively, this should not be a significant concern.

  • Meals: $5 – $10 per day (some hostels provide breakfast)
  • Accommodation: – $15 per night in a hostel
  • Transportation: $5 – for a full day of train and bus rides or $15 – $20 for an overnight intercity bus ride
  • SIM card with data: for 2GB with 30-day validity

The Philippines, $37/day

lagaan falls siquijor

Traveling throughout the Philippines can be both expensive and time-consuming due to the country's archipelago structure and limited hostel options compared to other Southeast Asian countries. Nevertheless, it is still possible to keep travel costs low by following a few strategies. Traveling during shoulder seasons, booking flights and planning ahead, and sticking to 1-2 regions can help lower expenses. Despite the challenges, the Philippines offers incredible islands, stunning dive sites, and hidden gems that would often cost much more in other parts of the world. In that sense, the Philippines is worth every penny.

  • Meals: $5 – $15 per day (some hostels provide breakfast)
  • Accommodation: -$20 per night in a hostel
  • Transportation: $10-$15 for a motorbike for the day or $15 – $20 for a boat ride from one island to another
  • SIM card with data: for 2GB with 30-day validity

Indonesia, $35/day

The Blue Lagoon on Nusa Ceningan

Indonesia offers incredibly diverse pricing options, ranging from very cheap to relatively expensive, largely dependent on transportation. Intercity travel and transportation between islands can be time-consuming and costly. To save money, focus on exploring one or two regions. There are countless activities and sights to discover, and spending more time in a single location allows for a deeper and more meaningful experience. Taking advantage of local transportation, such as buses and scooters, is highly recommended and can significantly reduce costs. Street food and affordable hostels are abundant, particularly in destinations like the Gili Islands.

  • Meals: $5 – $15 per day (some hostels provide breakfast)
  • Accommodation: -$15 per night in a hostel
  • Transportation: -$15 for a motorbike for the day
  • SIM card with data: $5 for 2GB with 30-day validity

Northern Thailand, $32/day

Northern Thailand is an affordable region for travelers on a tight budget. As you travel further south, accommodation costs tend to double, triple, or even quadruple. If you are limited on time and budget, it is best to focus on the north of Thailand for your trip. Even in popular places like Chiang Mai and Pai, you can find basic dorms for less than . Street food is a budget-friendly and authentic option, offering delicious local cuisine. Affordable activities, such as visiting the White Temple and going on day trips, make it possible to enjoy your time without spending much.

  • Meals: $5 – $15 per day (some hostels provide breakfast)
  • Accommodation: $5-$10 per night in a hostel
  • Transportation: -$10 for a motorbike for the day
  • SIM card with data: for 1.5GB with 30-day validity

Vietnam, $35/day

When I was in Vietnam, I had the opportunity to try some incredibly healthy and affordable street food. One of my favorites was a soup with rice noodles, cilantro, flavorful broth, and a generous portion of pork for just $1.50. I also enjoyed a cup of strong, aromatic coffee for only $1. If you're not comfortable riding a motorbike, GrabBike is a great alternative – it's similar to Uber but operates on bikes. In major cities, you can catch a ride for as little as $0.50 for a 2km journey. Long-distance buses and trains are also reliable and reasonably priced. Even accommodation in Vietnam is affordable and pleasant, making it a budget-friendly destination.

  • Meals: $5 – $12 per day. Some hostels provide a basic breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $5-$10 per night in a hostel
  • Transportation: – $15 for motorbike rental or GrabBike trips
  • SIM card with data: for 1.5GB with 30-day validity


the cityscape of lisbon, portugal

Portugal is one of the most affordable countries in Europe, and it's also one of my personal favorites. The country offers beautiful beaches, stunning seaside cliffs, rolling wine country, historic cities, delicious food, and friendly locals, all at reasonable prices. While Lisbon has become more expensive due to increased popularity, the rest of Portugal remains relatively cheap compared to Western Europe. You can easily get by on $50-60 USD per day if you're a budget traveler. If you're looking for an affordable winter destination in Europe, Portugal should be at the top of your list.


Arizona & Utah (for a road trip!), $45/day

The Cheapest Travel Destinations In the World in 2023Although the United States is typically not considered a budget destination, it is possible to have an affordable road trip in Arizona and Utah. By budgeting wisely, you can save money in some areas and splurge on others to maintain a reasonable overall budget. For my American Southwest road trip, I spent an average of $110 per day, which included the cost of renting a camper van, food, gas, camping, and occasional treats. Keep in mind that if you're traveling with others, you can split the costs and lower the expenses even further. National park passes are a great way to save money, as they allow a carload of people access to any national park in the US for an entire year. Renting a camper van with kitchen facilities also helps you save money by allowing you to cook your own meals. Overall, a road trip through Arizona and Utah can cost around $45 per day.

Some quick tips on saving money:

  • Get a national park pass and for , you will be able to get a carload of people into any national park in the US for an entire year.
  • Rent a camper van if you are renting a car. Then your accommodation apart from the van fee can be absolutely free by camping only on BLM land.
  • Cook your own meals! Again, renting a camper van with kitchen facilities will enable this and save you a lot of money
  • Meals: $12 – $15/day
  • Accommodation: free
  • Transportation: /day for a camper van split between 4 people
  • SIM card with data: $35 for 1GB with a 30-day validity

Namibia, $45/day

sossusvlei namibiaNamibia is famous for its breathtaking landscapes, including attractions like Sossusvlei, Deadvlei, and the massive Fish River Canyon. While it may not seem like a budget destination at first, there are ways to save money and make it more affordable. Instead of staying in luxury lodges, consider camping at their campsites, which cost about - $10 per night. Government campsites are also an option, with prices ranging from $15 to $18 per night. Sharing the cost of a 4x4 rental with other travelers can help reduce transportation expenses. Additionally, taking advantage of communal kitchens and cooking your own meals will save you money. Entrance fees to attractions are generally inexpensive.

  • Meals: $12 – $15 per day
  • Accommodation: – $18 per night
  • Transportation: $15 – $18 per day for a 4x4 split between 4 people
  • SIM card with data: $16 for 1.5GB with a 60-day validity


Morocco, just a short distance from Europe, offers affordable travel experiences. However, it's important to avoid overpriced items sold by pushy salesmen. While organized tours can be relatively expensive, independent travel in Morocco can be much more budget-friendly. For comfortable yet affordable accommodation, consider staying in riads, traditional hotels with garden courtyards. One highlight of Morocco is the Sahara Desert, where you can camp under the stars and marvel at its vastness. Morocco offers a wide range of budgets, from backpacker to mid-range, with estimated costs of $40 and per day, respectively.


Geghard monestary in Armenia

In 2018, a peaceful protest led to positive change in Armenia, creating an atmosphere of optimism and increasing interest in tourism. Although it is still a poor country, Armenia offers unique experiences for travelers seeking destinations off the beaten path. During my visit, I had the opportunity to witness Vardavar, an annual event in which the entire city of Yerevan engages in a playful water fight. Armenia is a budget-friendly destination, with estimated costs of $25 per day for backpackers and $40 per day for mid-range travelers.

P.S. I wrote an inspirational book that's all about how you can travel more and travel cheaply. If you want to explore the world but are unsure of where to start or how to do it on a budget, my book has all the answers!

P.P.S. Please note that the budgets listed here are only suggestions and can vary depending on your travel style. The provided budgets are per person per day and do not include one-off expenses like flights or travel insurance.

Backpacker Budget: This assumes you'll stay in hostel dorms or share rooms in cheap guesthouses. You'll mostly eat local food in cafes or eateries, use local transportation, and avoid expensive private tours.

Mid-range Budget: This assumes you'll stay in nicer B&Bs, local guesthouses, or budget hotels. You'll take day tours and other organized activities, and enjoy sit-down meals in restaurants at least once a day.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission from recommended products or services. For more information, please see our site policies.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

North America

You may be familiar with the Netflix show set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, but this coastal destination is also a top choice for budget travelers. Hotel rooms and vacation rentals are affordable, especially during the offseason. If you're planning a trip with friends or family, you can split the cost of oceanfront lodging for even greater savings.

For a relaxing coastal escape, consider visiting in the spring when temperatures are pleasant, beaches are quiet, and room rates are low. The Outer Banks Scenic Byway offers stunning views of beaches, wild horses, lighthouses, and more.


Originally Published: June 06, 2018

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