The Most Affordable destinations in the world
Namibia is home to some of the world’s most spectacular views including the gorgeous Sossusvlei, the hauntingly beautiful Deadvlei, and the massive Fish River Canyon, just to name a few. At first glance, Namibia may not seem like a budget destination, as most accommodations cater to the luxury category, and transportation availability from one place to another can be limited in such a vast country. However, you just need to do things a little bit differently to save a lot of money.
2. South Africa
If you are traveling on USD or Euro, the exchange rate alone will do you a big favor. At this time of writing, 1 South African Rand is equal to 7 cents US. Any hostels/guesthouse/tourist accommodation in South Africa is called a “backpackers”, and they are typically in beautiful settings and each has a unique personality, not to mention affordable too. Food is where the big budget eater or saver can be, as it can get expensive in South Africa. To save money, cook your own food. Grocery stores are plentiful and have reasonable prices. By at least cooking your own breakfast and the occasional dinner, you can save a lot of money.
3.Arizona & Utah
While the US is generally not a super budget destination, if you are doing a road trip, you can definitely save in some areas and splurge in others to even out your overall budget. For my American Southwest road trip, I spent an average of $110/day, which included a camper van rental, food, gas, camping, plus little splurges here and there. Now, it was definitely more expensive because I was solo. If you had just one other person, you’d be able to split the costs almost perfectly in half. If you had two other people along, take it down to one third and so on. The more the merrier (until you run out of room and start elbowing each other).
Bolivia isn’t for everybody, but if you are looking for a real South American adventure (on a budget, nevertheless), this is the place to be. You will deal with a handful of long, winding roads off the beaten path, the altitude can be problematic for some, but the adventures are endless. The Salt Flats and Death Road bicycle trip are unmissable, the Amazon is largely untouched, and the country is incredibly ethnically diverse.
Mexico is full of endless adventures. This vast country is rich with culture, nature, and some of the best food in the world. Though the country does not have the best reputation as far as safety goes, most violence takes place in certain areas, and Mexico is a big country with plenty of safe places to explore. Now the good news? It’s easy to travel in Mexico on a budget. For less than $20, you will be able to explore at least 5 stunning cenotes, like the one in the picture above; for less than $3, you can devour delicious street food like tacos (I LOVE tacos), quesadillas, and tortillas; the white sand beaches are essentially free, and the hospitality? Priceless.
Turkey can be cheap or expensive, depending on what you want to do and how deeply you want to travel through the country. A hot air balloon ride costs around $200-$300, and intercity traveling can be really long and costly. However, the country has a bunch of other bucket list-worthy items that cost way less, and if you plan your route well, it is definitely possible, if not easy, to travel through Turkey on a budget.
If you like turquoise waters, sunshine, and parties, look no further than Croatia to plan your next budget trip. There are thousands of islands surrounding its mainland, excellent weather from May – October, and beach and yacht parties year-round. The essential expenses including accommodation, transportation and food all come with a reasonable price tag. There is also beautiful architecture to marvel at, interesting sights such as the Museum of Broken Relationships, as well as cute small towns to explore. To travel in Croatia on a budget, you need a similar approach to Greece – travel in the shoulder season. July & August are the country’s busiest months, so avoid them if possible. Also, keep your island hopping to a group of islands to minimize transfers.
Timing is crucial if you want to travel in Greece on a budget. While prices of flights, accommodation and tours have been largely cut down since the country’s debt crisis in 2010, summer months still cost more than others. This means avoiding July and August, which are the hottest and busiest months in Greece. Instead, go a few weeks before or after summer, and you will be able to enjoy Greece with smaller crowds and a lower budget. You can also cut down on food costs by buying fresh produce from the market and making your own meals, since eating out in restaurants can be expensive in certain parts of Greece. A little picnic by the gorgeous beach can be as enjoyable as a lavish meal at a seafood restaurant!
As far as activities go, opt for the free walking tours available, and if you are planning to do some island hopping in Greece, plan well and stick with a group of islands to minimize transfers. For any long-distance travel, keep in mind that sometimes a domestic flight can be cheaper than a bus ride.
Kyrgyzstan is the country of choice for most travelers interested in trying out Central Asia, and thus most well-suited to travelers of all budgets. Food is cheap and interesting, so is getting around using the minibusses. Public transportation prices are fixed and is probably the cheapest aspect of traveling in Kyrgyzstan. As for accommodation, you can find hostels in major destinations, and local homestays in more rural places for less than $10. If you are doing a multi-day hike like the Tian Shan Mountains, the tour price should include most things.
China’s big cities have all kinds of fancy restaurants and hotels that can eat right into your budget in a big way, but in a country this vast, you just need to get off the beaten path for a cheaper yet more authentic experience. Think provinces like Sichuan, Dali , and Guangxi, where cheap accommodation, delicious street food, and unique experiences like having a BBQ with the locals, or riding a bicycle around, can be completely free or very, very cheap.
India is perhaps the cheapest country to travel to, but if and only if you’re willing to haggle and hunt for deals. Keep in mind that cheap rooms that run in the $3 range will be very basic and it’s normal to shower with buckets of heated water. You will be hard pressed to find cheap gems in the north, but the south with its gorgeous beaches may prove more fruitful when it comes to budget accommodation.
Being one of the most economically developed Southeast Asian countries, Malaysia is often perceived as expensive. On top of that, when I visited Malaysia for the first time, a few people told me it wasn’t worth staying long. However, I ended up meeting lots of locals, more able to communicate and find more common ground with them than I had in Cambodia or Laos, and had so much fun exploring Cameron Highlands, the jungles of Borneo, and the gorgeous islands. The cherry on top? They were all affordable. An overnight bus from Kuala Lumpur to the Perhentian Islands costs as little as $8, there are so many interesting local neighborhoods and markets that are free to explore, and finally, the Malaysian cuisine is like no other – you can find food from just about any culture and it’s so cheap and delicious – but not necessarily healthy. Malaysia is also one of the cheapest places in the world to get a PADI scuba diving certificate.
The thing about Indonesia is that it can be really cheap, or it can be quite expensive, depending on one big thing – transportation. Intercity traveling can be very time-consuming and costly, so is traveling from one island to another with a private boat. To save costs, stick with a region or two! There’s a lot to do and see, and spending more time in one place will only allow you to travel deeper and have a more meaningful experience anyway. If you want to travel far and wide on a budget, my biggest tip is to take the local transportation! That’s what I did backpacking in Indonesia a few years back, and sure enough, I ended up with some funny stories.
Is there anything more synonymous with honeymoons in the Instagram age than an over-water villa in the Maldives? Maybe not, but you aren’t limited to this South Asian archipelago for your honeymoon island escape?
Not only can you find the classic overwater Moorea villas here to tick that Maldives-Esque accommodation craving, but it’s one of the more affordable destinations to do so in French Polynesia. Thus rugged volcanic island has all the sandy beaches you could dream of, rainforest hiking trails, and some fantastic scuba-diving – so you can spend your honeymoon as relaxed, or active, as you desire.