The world is full of cheap vacation spots. And, these days, it doesn’t require much effort to find them. No matter what continent — and no matter what interests you have — there are countless places you can visit on a budget.
No destination is really ever “too expensive” as long as you do some research, get creative, and have some flexibility — you just might not be living large when you visit them.
Fortunately, there are a handful of destinations out there that make budget travel easy, fun, and safe.
After over a decade as a frugal nomad, I’ve had the privilege of visiting dozens of budget-friendly countries that make traveling cheap as easy as it can be.
These destinations offer affordable accommodation, cheap food, and plenty of activities and excursions that can be enjoyed without breaking the bank.
Whether you’re a history buff, foodie, beach bum, or party animal, this list has something for you.
Here’s a list of my favorite cheap places to travel right now to help you plan your next affordable adventure:
It’s also super affordable.
With a tourist trail going back decades, Thailand is the heart of backpacking in Southeast Asia, and you can get by on between $25-35 USD per day thanks to cheap guesthouses, budget street food (which can be found for as little as $1 USD!), local buses, and the many cheap and free attractions. If you spend all your time on the islands and inexpensive accommodation, expect to pay closer to $60 USD per day. However, even at the price, Thailand is still one of the most bargain-friendly destinations in the world and should not be skipped!
2. Central America
Belize, Panama, Costa Rica — these are expensive destinations by regional standards (yet they are still quite affordable). If you visit these central Central American countries, you can get by on $40-50 USD per day as a backpacker or splash out $100 a day and live large. Your money goes really far in this part of the world. And with no many coun tries to choose from, it’s easy to bounce around and see a lot without going broke.
Cambodia is cheaper than popular Thailand but just as beautiful and filled with some of the nicest people in the world. Plus, it’s home to the incredible Angkor Wat (which, while expensive to visit, is worth the expense!).
4. The Balkans
You can get by for as little as $30 USD per day — a fraction of what you’d pay in Western Europe. A week’s worth of groceries costs as little as $25 USD while beer costs around $2 USD.
And while the region was once known for being unsafe, things have greatly improved over the past decade. There’s a growing backpacking trail here and tourism is on the rise. It’s Europe’s least-explored region — but not for long so visit before you crowds arrive and the price skyrocket.
But, the country becomes even cheaper, when you get off the beaten path and the interior. This is where you’ll find the best travel deals and bargains! China still remains one of the best value places in the world and, with it’s massive size (it’s the 3rd largest country by landmass), there is a ton to see and do here!
India is a cheap backpacking destination with a rich cultural history, mouthwatering food, helpful and curious locals, incredible regional diversity, great tea, and a lot to do. It’s a gigantic place best either explored in either one large trip or a few smaller chunks. Either way, don’t miss India.
Tucked away in the Caucasus, Georgia has been at a cultural crossroad for centuries yet it’s not nearly as popular as it should be. Tbilisi is a city bursting with activity, while the rest of the country offers intrepid adventures a rugged, off-the-beaten-path feel.
You can get by on next to nothing here too, with budget travelers spending as little as $25 USD per day. Beer is around $2 USD, a week’s worth of groceries costs around $25-30 USD, and most museums and historic sites cost just $2-3 USD.
While it might feel out of the way, Georgia is one of the next big backpacking hubs. I’d go back in a heartbeat!
Portugal has become a lot more popular and crowded in recent years (it has a growing expat and digital nomad scene) and Lisbon has become especially expensive was people move there and drive up prices. It’s a great place after all! However, once you get outside of Lisbon, prices are still relatively cheap compared to the rest of Western Europe — and you’ll see far fewer tourists too. Expect to get by on $45-60 USD per day if you’re a budget backpacker.
While is gorgeous in the summer, if you’re looking for a cheap place to spend the winter in Europe, Portugal is one of your best options.
While there are some regions that aren’t that safe to explore, the majority of the country is yours to enjoy. No matter your interests — beaches, partying, food, history, nature — there’s a corner of the country that you can enjoy safely without breaking the bank.
I fell in love with Morocco when I visited — and not just because it’s super affordable (though that did help!). Budget backpackers can get around on just $30-40 USD per day here, while midrange travelers can have a comfortable trip for less than half that. You get a lot of value here.