We know. You want to travel the world, but you’re bogged by the rising costs of travel. Hot tourist destinations are crowded, expensive and not much fun anymore. That’s why we decided to put together a list of 10 fabulous destinations that you can explore without breaking the bank! If you are the kind who plans and saves up prudently for one or two great vacations a year, you’ll be delighted with our list. So save and travel!
Cambodia is one of Southeast Asia’s least developed countries and perhaps the cheapest to visit. Famous for the fabulous temples of Angkor Wat and an exotic culture, Cambodia is a travel discoverer’s dream. The country’s cuisine and culture are a mix of Vietnamese, Thai and Indonesian flavors. Cambodia’s beaches and surrounding green islands are untouched. The cities of Battambang and Phnom Penh are cheap and are historically and culturally rich.
Mexico is a backpacker’s budget dream, with daily costs not exceeding USD 30 a day, including dorm bed and food. Many households take on houseguests as well, meals included. Food is cheap, with street carts selling delicious tacos, tortias, enchiladas, tamales and other delicacies. Mid-range budget travelers find Mexico a fab option too. Avoid high-tourist action beaches such as Cancun and Cabo. Visit Puerto Escondido, Zihuatenejo, and Mazatlan and Tulum beaches instead for less than half the cost.
Bolivia is South America’s cheapest but most exciting country. Travel is a bit higgledy-piggledy, but that’s part of the fun, isn’t it? Bolivian culture is a mix of Incan, Spanish and other interesting cultures. You’ll find old Incan temples and examples of leftover Indian heritage all over Bolivia. Don’t miss a visit to Salar de Uyuni’s endless salt flats, and Lake Titicaca, the highest lake in the world! A daily budget of USD 20 per person suffices for food, stay and transport, in backpacking terms. Avoid locally-run guesthouses and opt for hostels, which are a tad pricier but with reasonable amenities. Transport is exceptionally cheap and while food is not very cheap, you can buy fresh veggies, fruits and greens for next to nothing.
Budapest is one of the loveliest cities in Europe with quaint historical buildings and incredible scenery along the Danube River. Outside the city, the blissful landscapes of quaint villages and glowing hills will take your breath. In Budapest a meal with wine costs less than $20. Alcoholic drinks are cheap, with $1-$2 for beers in pubs! Purchase the local Subway card to save on transport. Every main avenue has bike lanes, so renting a bike will save money. Check tourist centers for a list of free attractions and avail discounts on paid ones via the Budapest card.
5. The Balkans
Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Macedonia are the cheaper parts of The Balkans. Enjoy the extremely beautiful Adriatic coastline, the green forests and the lakes of the Balkan cities. Albanian roads are in a bad state of neglect, but the area is lovely. Food is comparatively cheap, especially in small cafes and diners. While hotels are fairly cheap, houseguest stay options might make more sense in rural areas.
6. Marrakech, Morocco
Visit Marrakech during May, when it’s reasonably cool. For transport, best rent a small scooter or walk around the tiny back alleys. Food is fantastic and cheap with evening food markets selling amazingly cheap food by the cart load. It costs about USD 45 per night at a 3-Star hotel for two people. There are a few good cheap backpacker hostels for stay options as well. Morocco is beautiful with its amazing mosques, narrow lanes and old souqs.
Thailand is still one of the cheapest places for travel. Avoid luxury beach resorts at Koh Samui and Phuket. Look for cheaper options at Railey Beach, Ao Nang, Koh Lanta, Ton Sai Beach, or Koh Chang. A nice hotel with swimming pool costs $30 onwards per night. Near the Chiang Mai region, you’ll find untouched, non-touristy beaches. Enjoy Thailand’s culture, its old Buddhist temples, mountains, rice fields, hill tribes and beautiful scenery.
Portugal is tempting for being gorgeous and non-touristy. Explore incredibly beautiful cities such as Lisbon, Aveiro, Coimbra, and Porto. Rich vineyards, meandering lanes and gorgeous rivers await you. Algarve is famous for glamorous secluded beaches. Prices for food and transport are very reasonable throughout Portugal. Beach hotels and resort apartments are cheaper in May, as tourist season doesn’t begin till June.
What’s great about India is that food and transport are very cheap, despite the tourist traffic. Use the railway to travel from city to city; fares are very cheap. Roadside dhabas offer cheap and hearty food, and mid-range hotels are fairly cheap. India is devastatingly beautiful the further away you get from the crowded cities. India’s cultural heritage goes back thousands of years, so heritage monuments, temples and ancient ruins are a must-explore. Look for houseguest options in tourist destinations like Kulu Manali, Jaipur, Bombay and others.
10. South Africa
South Africa is a very tourist-friendly city with good transport and stay facilities. Daily transportation shouldn’t exceed $20; hotel rooms are cheaper than in other international tourist destinations. Hotels and safaris are less expensive during July and August. Renting a private villa works out cheaper than a hotel for a group. Book domestic flights in advance to save more money; flights sell out quickly in S.A. Food is fairly economical and locally-produced wines cost less than a can of soda!
Ours is a splendid world, every bit of it worth enjoying, but travel costs can bog the best of us down. What joy to travel when you know in advance you’re visiting a pocket-friendly destination! We’ve done the homework and now it’s up to you to head out to a nice cheap destination and enjoy its many riches. Use HotelsCombined.com, Hotwire.com, Expedia.com and Hostelbookers.com to book cheap hotel rooms wherever you travel. <