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A LIST OF THE CHEAPEST COUNTRIES TO VISIT IN 2021, FOR AN AFFORDABLE YET UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE
Want to save money and still travel the world? You can!
Travel doesn’t have to expensive. In fact, if you live in a big city, it could be cheaper to travel around the world than staying at home! How do I know that? Last year Dan and I traveled for 4 weeks in Indonesia. Guess what? We ended up spending less than staying at home. And we booked some pretty awesome accommodations too!
How is that possible, I can hear you asking me? There are plenty of destinations where you can get a lot more for your money! And these incredible countries offer not just great value but also unforgettable sights and experiences. The trick is knowing where to go, and spend your money wisely.
To help you to decide where to go, I convinced a group of expert travel bloggers to share their favorite cheapest countries to visit on a budget. Some of them spent months (or even years) in these countries, and have revealed the smartest ways to visit these incredible locations without spending a fortune (we are talking $50 a day or less!!!).
From Morocco to Guatemala, here are 30 places you can visit without breaking the bank.
HOW TO READ MY BUDGET ESTIMATE: My daily budget is based on food, accommodation, and transport per person, in USD. It’s based on a backpack hostel budget (low range) to mid-range hotel accommodation (higher range). You can, of course, spend even less, if you are a thrifty traveler or are traveling as a couple or with friends. Or more if you want to splurge a little!
Cheapest countries to visit Asia
Emily from Wander-Lush
In a region known for being budget-friendly, Vietnam is one of the top value-for-money destinations in Southeast Asia. It’s possible for a backpacker to get by on as little as $25 per day and still experience the best of what the country has to offer.
Most nationalities require a tourist visa to enter Vietnam. Don’t let this initial cost put you off: once you’re in, everything is cheap. You can find a bed in a decent hostel in the bigger cities or at a homestay in rural Vietnam for as little as $10 per night.
Street food dominates in Vietnam, and a bowl of pho, a plate of banh cuon or any one of the county’s other delicious delicacies will set you back less than $2. A glass of bia hoi (keg beer) in Hanoi goes for as little as 20 cents. Expect to pay between $5 and $35 for an inter-city bus or train ticket depending on the distance.
Of course, there are lots of good reasons to travel to Vietnam beyond the low costs. The country is incredibly diverse, offering everything from trekking in the magnificent hills of Ha Giang, to boat rides in the Mekong Delta backwaters. An excellent way to experience the country is to travel between Hanoi and Saigon on the Reunification Express train, stopping at beaches, historic towns, and national parks along the way.
I’ve visited Vietnam twice: once as a backpacker in 2012, and again in 2017-2018 when I lived in Hanoi for a year. I didn’t notice much fluctuation in costs between those two visits—an encouraging sign that Vietnam will remain a budget-friendly destination for years to come.
Miguel from Travelsauro
Myanmar, also known as Burma, is unlike any other country in Southeast Asia. Because they have opened up to tourism in the last decade, you’ll find that infrastructure can be lacking and travel can be challenging. However, visitors will be rewarded with hundreds of temples, pagodas, and monasteries, plus of course, some of the friendliest people in the world.
Myanmar can be slightly more expensive than some of its Southeast Asian neighbors, but not significantly so. Most services are still pretty cheap, including accommodation, transportation, and tours. Expect to pay around $3 for a basic meal, $2 for a bottle of beer, $10 for a dorm bed, and $2 for a short taxi ride. I’d say that $25 or $30 a day is a pretty realistic budget.
Among the best things to do in Myanmar, we can highlight: visiting Yangon and Mandalay, cycling around the temples of Bagan, climbing up to the Golden Rock and visiting the Inle Lake. If you have time, I recommend that you hike all the way from Kalaw to Inle Lake. This trek is a highlight for many first time visitors to Burma. It can be completed in 3 days and is of medium difficulty. You’ll find beautiful landscapes, traditional villages, remote monasteries, and welcoming people!
Andrea from Happy Days Travel Blog
Cambodia is a country we return to again and again. It has so much to offer: the vibrancy and grandeur of the capital Phnom Pehn, the awesome history on display at Angkor Wat, the old-world charm of Battambang, the beautiful beaches of Sihanoukville, the stunning natural landscapes of the north, the chance to see Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong River, the delicious food, and, above all, the friendly people.
Despite their horrific recent history, Cambodians are open and welcoming to visitors, relishing the opportunity to share the secrets of their homeland.
Not only does it have all of these amazing attractions, but Cambodia is also a great place to visit if funds are limited. It’s possible for independent travelers to spend as little as $10/12 per day on accommodation, food, and travel. For a budget of $20-$30 per day, you can live very comfortably, staying in a room with private facilities in a guest house and eating street food ($1/2 per meal) or in basic restaurants (US$3-$5 per meal).
Bus travel between destinations in Cambodia is cheap and efficient. Expect to pay around $10 for a reserved seat on an air-conditioned coach between Phnom Pehn and Siem Reap or Sihanoukville. If time and money allow, don’t miss the boat trip between Siem Reap and Battambang.
For $20, you get to spend 8 hours on a boat getting up-close and personal with the people who make their homes around Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and one of the richest fishing grounds in the world.
Overland transport connections to neighboring Thailand, Vietnam and Laos are also frequent and affordable, making Cambodia the ideal place to base yourself whilst exploring this fascinating part of the world.
Sarah and Olivier from Off The Tourist Treadmill
India is a great destination for backpackers and tourists looking for one of the cheapest places to visit. First: you can stay for a long time on a minimum budget. Second: you can’t be indifferent to India – you will either love it or hate it. Our first impressions were noise, confusion, and overcrowding. After a few days, you quickly adjust and learn to embrace the organized chaos. Third: India is a mix of different cultures where everybody lives together in harmony. If you open your mind and forget your prejudices, India can offer you so many experiences and beautiful sights.
India is perfect for backpackers because you can experience all of this by spending very little money. During our trip to India, we stayed in some great small guest houses for $13-$25 a night. In the spiritual town of Pushkar, we stayed at the centrally located Everest Hotel for just $23. Our room was very comfortable, and we could share experiences with other backpackers on the roof terrace.
Food in India is also cheap. For just a few dollars, you can taste many different dishes. Ask the locals and you will find places to eat thali (a big plate with a selection of various spiced dishes) for 100 Rupees ($1.50). However, you quickly appreciate that India is a land of contrasts. Slums reside next to 5-star hotels and you can spend $1.50 or $100 on food.
Traveling in India is also very cheap. India has a good rail network, so we traveled by train. There are different classes but if you opt to travel in second class you will pay approximately $9 for 200 km.
India is an incredible country. If you can open your mind and be accommodating, you will improve your patience the more you stay in India.
Sophie from Third Eye Traveller
From the snowy peaks of the Himalayas, peaceful Buddhist temples and lush green nature parks, Nepal really has something for everyone. What’s even better, is that this trekker’s paradise is friendly on a shoestring budget.
Backpackers can spend as little as $20-30 a day in total for a bed for the night, transport, attraction prices, and food. Hostel beds are as cheap as $3 in Kathmandu or Pokhara and budget guesthouses are $5-$6 for a double room. As you’re in a mountain country, buses are king here and typically cost $5-8 to get to your next destination.
If you’re feeling hungry Dal Bhat, or lentils with rice, is a local favorite and will cost you less than $1. Thukpa (noodle soup) and Momos (dumplings) are tasty Himalayan delicacies that you can’t miss for a mere $1-3 a meal. Chai tea, an addictive sweet and spicy hot drink, is only 20 cents!
Guided trekking in Nepal can be expensive, especially if you need equipment. But, there is the option to do treks self-guided and make use of the tea houses which provide cheap shelter for hikers along the way.
Nepal is my paradise. Waking up to mountain views each day, hearing the chimes of the stupa temples and experiencing the welcoming hospitality of the Nepali people all made this a spectacular destination.
If you’re up for an adventure, but don’t want to stretch your purse strings, Nepal is one the perfect cheapest destinations to visit on a budget.
Halef and Michael from The Round The World Guys
It’s no secret that Southeast Asia has some of the cheapest countries in the world to visit, as well as to settle in. While many visitors flocks to well-known places in Thailand or the Philippines, Indonesia is probably one of the best and cheapest countries to live in.
What not to love about Indonesia? This vast nation with more than 17,000 islands offers so much cultural diversity and natural beauty. From the ancient Buddhist temple of Borobudur to the underwater marine paradise of Raja Ampat, there is always something to explore.
Many visitors flocks to the touristy island of Bali, which is a very beautiful part of Indonesia. But if you want more value for your money, try different parts and islands of Indonesia, such as Lombok, Sumatra or Java.
On Java, the densest island on earth, you can always rely on public transportation. Hop on a shared cab, rickshaw or trains to go around – and even flights are frequent and reasonably priced.
The cost of living in Indonesia is fairly cheap; for example, in many of traditional warungs (food stalls), you can expect to pay no more than $1.50 to get a full meal. If you are not familiar with the local food, here are some basic Indonesian food facts and dishes to try. Budget backpackers can expect to pay $10-$30 per day on Java, by staying with locals, or budget hostel and eat in local establishments.
7. Sri Lanka
Bradley and Cazzy from Dream Big, Travel Far
If you’re on the lookout for a destination that’s not only cheap but stunning and offers lots of great things to do, then Sri Lanka should be number one on your list. You can get by easily on a low budget. To backpack Sri Lanka, you’re probably looking at an average budget of around $20-30 per day.
Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with gorgeous beaches, stunning waterfalls, mountains, culture, and safaris. You’ll never get bored and you’ll struggle to leave.
Hostels and hotels in Sri Lanka are very reasonable. Dorm rooms start at around $5-10 per night, or you can get shared rooms in a hotel for as low as $17 per night (and that typically includes air conditioning).
Transport is very affordable too: if you use local buses/trains, don’t expect to pay more than $1-2 for long journeys.
And the trick with food is to eat where the locals eat and the food in Sri Lanka will be super cheap. Local food hovers around the $2-3 mark for a meal. If you decide to eat in “Westernized” restaurants, expect to pay around $6 upwards depending on the quality.
Josie from Josie Wonders
Thailand is one of the cheapest countries to visit on a budget. It’s beautiful, well set up for travel, and incredibly cheap.
Visitors can see everything from jungle to temples, white beaches, and amazing blue water. It’s warm all year round so always great for a visit.
For the super budget traveler, it’s possible to find basic dorm accommodation for as little as $4. Mid-range accommodation can be found for around $30, in some places much less, and go up to about $60 for a western-style three-star hotel such as an Ibis in Bangkok.
At the markets or in a local restaurant it’s possible to get a dish of noodles and a non-alcoholic drink for $1.50-$3 In a more western or touristy restaurant, expect to pay about $8-$10 for a meal.
Local transport can be as little as just a few Baht depending on how you are getting around. Long-distance buses can also be very cheap. The ten-hour trip between Chiang Mai and Bangkok, for example, starts at around $19.
An overall budget of $63 per day should give most visitors a good experience. If you are super frugal, traveling on even half of that is possible without too much effort.
Joan from Against the Compass
Home to some of the most mind-blowing mosques on Earth, composed of eyed-blessing domes and jaw-dropping madrassas; some of the most welcoming and genuine local people you will ever encounter; and contrasting landscapes that range from the deserts in the south to the snowcapped mountains in the north; Iran is, definitely, the ultimate destination of the year.
But besides being an incredibly amazing country, Iran is cheap, really, and with the continuous Rial devaluation, it is getting even cheaper.
Meals in local eateries range from $1 to $3.50 (30,000 to 120,000IR), whereas you would pay around $6 (200,000IR) in a higher quality restaurant.
You can find decent hotels from as cheap as $9 (300,000IR), with mid-range options starting at $16 (550,000IR).
The different Iranian cities are really well-connected by buses, which is the preferred way of transportation for locals, and a VIP bus ticket, which is the kind of bus you must take, never costs more than $5 or $6 for several-hundred-kilometer journeys.
Emma from Explore Shaw
Often overshadowed by it’s more famous neighbors in Thailand and Vietnam, Laos is not to be missed on your next Southeast Asian itinerary. This little country is an absolute gem with cheap eats, easy transportation, and more natural attractions then you could imagine. Travel through Laos can be easily worked into any kind of budget, with options for all kinds of price points.
Depending on your budget there are hotels for everyone, with hostels averaging about $10 – $15 and mid-range hotels sitting around the $30 – $50 price point per night. Traveling between cities throughout Laos is also very affordable, with a train between Luang Prabang and Vientiane costing around $16 one way and a one-way flight between the two cities starting from $45.
Once you’ve arrived and got settled in your accommodation it feels like everything else in Laos is only a couple of dollars. Delicious street food can be found all over Laos with meals starting under a dollar. Tuk Tuk rides average only a couple of dollars to get you around the towns and cities. Even entrance into some of the most beautiful waterfalls and attractions cost as little as $2. It’s the perfect place to unwind and give your budget a break!
Pam from Hey Miss Adventures
Southeast Asia is home to among the cheapest countries to live in, and the Philippines is no exception. We traveled as a family (2 adults, 1 toddler) for almost a month and spent less than $800 for EVERYTHING.
And what I love about my country is that it offers pretty much everything: cities, mountains, beaches (lots of this!!!). In some places like Cebu (where I live; which is also why I’m biased), you can experience all three in just a single day!
When traveling around the Philippines, living on $50-$100 a day as a family is already a good range, and could already put you in a flashpacker/mid-range budget.
Meals in carenderias (native restaurants) can cost around $2 per person or around $6-10 in a fine dining setting. You can stretch this budget further if you rent an Airbnb and cook your own food.
As for transportation, you may have to budget a bit more. The Philippines is an archipelago so expect a lot of boat trips that can start at $10 per way, depending on the type of accommodation (economy or premium) and the destination. Some smaller motorized boats can already bring you to the next island for as little as $0.40. Or you can use the local budget airline and book a round-trip ticket for as low as $40.
For trips around the city, you can take the jeepney (minimum of $0.15), bus ($4-$10 depending on the destination) or taxis and Grab cars (around $6 for a 1-hour trip)
Luke at The Coastal Campaign
Malaysia is a great country to visit for those backpackers who are traveling on a budget. My girlfriend and I recently spent a few weeks exploring Malaysia and found it to be relatively cheap, especially in comparison with neighboring Thailand. As a couple we spent approximately $50 USD a day, which is just $25 a day per person. This included accommodation, food, and activities for the day.
We definitely backpacked around Malaysia on a shoestring budget but we always had clean, air-conditioned rooms and delicious food each day. We spent an average of $10 USD per night for a double room and $5 for a meal in a local restaurant. The food in Malaysia is incredible, especially if you like Indian food. Short bus journeys cost a couple of dollars while journeys of several hours cost $10 USD plus.
One of the highlights of Malaysia was actually visiting Kuala Lumpur. We had heard mixed reviews from other travelers but we thought it was a brilliant city to spend a few days in with lots of awesome things to do. Malaysia is definitely a great country to visit on a budget and if you are a foodie you will absolutely love it.
Cheapest countries to visit in South America
James Ian at Travel Collecting
Ecuador is a budget traveler’s paradise and still one of the cheapest countries to visit in South America. It has islands, the Andes and the Amazon rainforest; colonial towns, lively markets, and a strong indigenous culture; hot springs, wild rivers, and unique wildlife.
There is an incredible variety of things you can do. The capital, Quito, it the most expensive city, but even there, you can easily get a budget breakfast for $1.50-$3, lunch for $2-$5 and dinner in a budget restaurant for $3.50-$8. A bus in Quito costs $0.25-$0.35 and taxis are only a couple of dollars around the center of town. A dorm bed in a hostel will set you back $10-$15 and you can get a double room in a budget hotel for less than $40 per night easily.
A typical daily expenditure for a budget traveler would be about $30-$50 (more if you do more, of course).
One of my favorite activities is cycling down the Andes from Banos, and bike rental is $10 for the whole day, so this is a cheap activity. There are also markets in many of the Andean towns where you can get local handicrafts for very reasonable prices (though you do need to bargain to get a bargain!). It’s even possible to travel around the Galapagos islands (notoriously expensive) for about $120/ day if you do land-based budget travel.
Barbara from Travel Gear For Kids
Like most countries in South America, Colombia is an absolutely amazing country and a great budget destination too! You get to see the world’s largest palm trees, tropical beaches, charming colonial towns, glorious mountains, ancient cultures and we can go on and on!
We are a 2 mums and 1 daughter family and our budget is situated somewhere between backpackers and mid-range (with an occasional splurge). Our average daily budget for Colombia for 3 of us was 200.000 COP ($62).
When we are talking lodging, we want our ho(s)tel rooms as cheap as possible, but with good hygiene, a private bathroom and – if possible – with breakfast included. In Colombia, you can expect to pay around $35 for a double room like that. As our breakfast is normally included, we usually eat out at lunch and grab something small in the supermarket or at a food stall for dinner. We spent about $15 a day on food.
Because we are traveling with a small child, we like to stay put in one place for 5-7 days and with nap times sightseeing is done in a very chill way. We also love to find cheap or free activities. This means we spent about $3 a day on transport and $6 on activities and sightseeing.
James Ian from Travel Collecting
Argentina is a large country with a great deal of diversity – from the gorgeous lake district; to wine country; the bustling and vibrant Buenos Aires; and down to the spectacular scenery in Patagonia, Argentina has it all. The currency in Argentina fluctuates wildly at times, making a big difference in how cheap it is for travel, but right now is a good time to go; after a recent currency devaluation, it is dirt cheap. You can get a nice glass of Argentinean Malbec wine for as little as $2!
Tours can be expensive, but you can also travel very cheaply. You can get a bed in a hostel dorm in Buenos Aires for as little as $9.50/ night ($12-$20/ night in El Chalten). The Glaciers National Park has an entry fee in El Calafate and the Perito Moreno Glacier (approx. $12.50 pp) but is completely free for spectacular hiking in El Chalten.
A steak dinner in a regular parrilla (steak house) in Buenos Aires, with a glass of wine, cost less than $15 each. You can eat more cheaply than this, of course, and prices decrease outside the capital. Tango shows in Buenos Aires can set you back about $70 pp (skip the dinner and get just the show to save money), but you can also see great tango completely free in the street.
Public transportation in Buenos Aires costs only about 35c. So book a ticket and head down to Argentina right now!
Cheapest countries to visit in Central America
15. El Salvador
Joanna from The World In My Pocket
El Salvador is a great country to visit when you are on a backpacker’s budget. One thing I really loved about El Salvador was the diversity and the number of things to see in such a small country. There are volcanos, lakes, beaches and Mayan ruins, traditional cities, all waiting to be explored here.
Traveling inside the country is very easy, as there are a lot of local buses that connect the cities. Because the country is so small, the journeys are quite fast as well. The capital, however, does get the rush hour traffic when nothing seems to move, so avoid traveling at those times. The cost to travel around the country varies from $0.25 cents to $5, depending on the distances.
Food in El Salvador is extremely cheap. Pupusas, the national dish of the country only costs between $0.50 cents and $1. This delicious tortilla filled with cheese, refried beans and many other combinations of ingredients is served with a cabbage slaw and tomato sauce. It’s the perfect food to have when going out, over a glass of local beer.
Hotels in El Salvador are budget-friendly as well, and there are plenty of different ones you can choose from. There are boutique hotels, local B&Bs, even chains such as Barcelo, which you can book for so much less than you would in any other country. As an example, a room at the Barcelo costs around $60. A private room at a local hotel is around $10.
Roz from Irish Nomads
Guatemala may seem like an off-track destination for some but, trust me, it’s incredible. What absolutely blew me away was the volcanos. You can toast marshmallows on an active volcano, hike to see the sunrise over twin volcanos and swim in an enormous volcano crater lake.
As well as that, you can visit the biggest Mayan city in the world and visit unique turquoise limestone pools at Semuc Champey. One of Guatemala’s biggest exports is coffee, and you can tour artisan coffee farms in the country, sampling some of their best produce.
But, the best part about Guatemala is that it’s unbelievably cheap. It’s perfect for anyone on a budget. For broke backpackers, expect to spend less than $30 per day. You can get hostel dorm beds for around $7, pick up local, freshly cooked food in the markets in Antigua for around $3 a meal and buy a beer for less than $2, too.
If you have a little more to spend, you’ll have a luxurious time in Guatemala on a mid-range budget. Get a whole chalet with unrivaled views entirely to yourself at Lake Atitlan for $50, spend a relaxing time at a volcano lodge near Antigua for $30 and eat in great restaurants for around $15 per meal.
At those prices, combined with all of the amazing things to do, going to Guatemala on your next trip is a no-brainer.
Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
Nicaragua definitely is one of the cheapest countries to visit in the world – the kind of place where your dollar goes a long way. More than that, Nicaragua is an incredibly interesting country to visit, which through time has retained its raw character and that – partly for the political unrest – has yet to become a mass tourism destination.
Packed with gorgeous beaches; an excellent destination to learn how to surf; with colonial cities that make it all the more interesting to explore and with jungle and volcanoes, Nicaragua is a real paradise for backpackers who will have plenty of things to do to keep entertained and who will hardly have to worry about managing their budget.
A $50 USD daily budget in Nicaragua will go a long way, and it will include activities such as volcano boarding and more. Should you decide you are not interested in such things, you can get by on much less! Here’s a breakdown of costs:
- Bed in a dorm in a good hostel = $5
- A full meal at a local eatery = $3
- Breakfast = $1.50
- Snack and street food for lunch = $2
- Bus ride = $0.30 cents
- Volcano boarding on Cerro Negro = up to $40 if bought online, cheaper if bought locally
If you are planning to visit Central America, make sure to add Nicaragua to your bucket list!
William from Nomadic Urges
Make no mistake, Honduras is a gorgeous and ecologically diverse nation. With the second largest barrier reef on the planet, the second largest rainforest in the Americas, 470 miles of Caribbean coastline, a zillion different kinds of birds, too many beaches to count, many tropical islands, and plenty of ancient ruins to explore, it’s got a lot to offer. Too bad the ratio of risk-to-reward is so high. As far as desirable travel destinations go, It’s not very safe.
Honduras suffers from rampant gang-violence and severe poverty and enjoys the notorious distinction of being one of the murder capitals of the world. These statistics, though certainly a deterrent to most, have seen some positive change of late.
The recommended advice to those looking to travel Honduras is to stick to tourist-friendly locations like the Bay Islands, Trujillo, La Ceiba, Utila, and a handful of others. Plan to travel on a lower, to mid-range budget (approximately $45 should cover a day’s expenses). To explore the country outside of established “safe” areas, it’s recommended to hire a guide.
In time, hopefully very little, Honduras will see a much-needed trend toward social-improvement, and travelers from all over can enjoy the immense beauty it offers.
Cheapest countries to visit in North America
Mayuri & Salil from To Some Place New
Cuba is one of the stunning places that I have been to. I loved the cultural vibes and the history of Havana. Did you know that Cuba is also one of the inexpensive destinations in the Americas? Havana can be explored in 2-3 days, ideally covering Old Havana, taking a classic car tour, drinking mojitos and learning all about their history from their museums. And you don’t have to break the bank.
There is a wide range of hotels available in Havana. Typically one night will cost $50 and above. Keep in mind the 3-star in North America, will be a 4+ star in Cuba (as a scale of reference). Casa particulars (like your Airbnb) are also quite affordable, starting from $25-$30 and above. And the FOOD – for $6 – you can have an entire meal with a drink, dessert and main course in Old Havana. Ice creams and mojitos in most food stalls and casa paladars (private owned restaurants) will be around $3-$4. If you are willing to line up and get food from a government-operated restaurant, you might end up paying less than $1.
For sightseeing, there are so many tourist spots that are actually FREE in Havana (leaving the museums). If you wish to take a classic car ride, you can rent one for 4-5 hours, for $20.
We are mostly mid-level range travelers, but Havana is a treat for all travelers (from budget to high end, from solo travelers to couples).
Hannah & Adam from GettingStamped
Mexico is one of those places that is for everyone with any kind of budget. From budget backpackers to luxury travelers. We have visited Mexico on both budgets but no matter our budget for the trip we always have a blast. One of our favorite places to visit is Playa del Carmen, we actually lived there for 6 months we loved it so much.
The best tacos are often at food trucks with lines full of locals or hole in the wall plastic chair kind of places. Our favorite restaurant has Al Pastor tacos for 13 pesos ($0.60) each. Many places have good happy hour specials where beers are often under $2 and margaritas for $3.
Getting around Mexico is super easy as well. The major cities are connected well, right from the airport we suggest the ADO buses for around $10-$20 depending on where you are going. Once in the local cities jump in the local collectivos for cheap transportation.
If you are wanting to visit some of the best cenotes in Tulum collectivos go right down the main highway where several are located and the famous Tulum Ruins. You can easily travel to Mexico on a budget of $50 a day or less and eat like a king, visit some of the best beaches, and some epic day trips too.
Cheapest countries to visit in Europe
Anca and Sinan, from Dream, Book, and Travel
There’s something for every taste in Turkey, from ancient sites and modern cities to endless turquoise beaches, majestic green mountains, the travertine terraces at Pamukkale, the rock formations of Cappadocia, and one of the best cuisines in the world. Backpackers, culture addicts, luxury travelers, and cruise passengers each find their ideal vacation here.
Turkish people are friendly and welcoming, although, outside the main touristic hotspots such as Istanbul and Antalya, they might not speak much English. Economically, Turkey has not been doing great the past few years, as the national currency – the Lira – depreciated drastically. Nowadays, services are six times cheaper in Turkey when compared to Europe – say if you were to pay $12 for a cab ride in Vienna, the same distance would cost you $1.50 in Istanbul.
As a consequence, one-way public transport tickets go for as little as the equivalent of $0.5 – $1 while a meal at a decent restaurant does not cost more than $6-$12. If you are looking to save some cash, there are amazing street food options like the Bosphorus fish bread (balik ekmek), the world-famous Döner, or the Izmir Kumru sold everywhere for as low as $1-$2. The traditional breakfast of tea and simit will also go for the same price.
Highly sought-after destinations are, like everywhere, more expensive, but Turkey is a safe country to visit off the beaten path and we highly recommend renting a car for this purpose.
Megan from Megan Starr
One of the cheapest countries to visit is definitely Armenia, a small country of around 3 million residents located in the Caucasus. But the question a lot of tourists ask is: in which continent is Armenia? This question is a difficult one as Armenia is situated bang in the middle of Asia and Europe and it bears the customs and traditions of the two continents at the same time. And geographically, it’s really part of both!
Armenia has so much to offer travelers and is definitely one of the most up-and-coming tourist destinations around the world. The world’s first winery has been traced back to the Areni-1 caves in Vayots Dzor province in the country.
Armenia also claims to be the birthplace of Christianity and it has several historical monasteries dotting its landscape. In addition, the food scene is nothing short of spectacular. The produce the country has to offer is used in its cuisine in a really delicious way and it is even infused in wine. You can have a great meal at a restaurant for around $5.
One of my favorite things about Armenia is its capital city, Yerevan. There are so many sidewalk cafes in Yerevan that will delight coffee lovers and these cafes allow locals and travelers to enjoy the 300+ days of sunshine annually that Armenia receives.
While there are a plethora of things to do in Armenia, you can do almost all of it at a very affordable price. Airbnb apartments are, on average $30/night, and hostels can be as low as $10/night and you can get transport between cities for anything between $2 to $10.
Eva from Travellina
There are two types of destinations. First, there are the amazing, hard-to-reach countries where a holiday costs a fortune and then there are the easily discovered, cheap countries with huge crowds hovering around with selfie sticks. Oh, and there is Georgia. Amazingly beautiful, exotic, diverse, friendly, one of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe and relatively undiscovered.
The only thing it lacks is large shopping malls, which is a blessing as it keeps the large tourist groups away – more room left for the individual, intrepid travelers.
Its capital, Tbilisi is full of quirky buildings, sulfur baths, orthodox churches, lively cafes. Only two hours drive to the east brings you to the wine region with rolling hills and unique wine-making traditions. Did you know that the World’s oldest wine was found in 8,000-year-old jars in Georgia? No wonder locals are so proud of their wines.
After exploring the pleasures of the city, head to the countryside, the true gem of Georgia. The four most amazing villages are Mestia, Ushguli, Kazbegi, and Mtskheta.
It is easy to get around in local minivans, marshrutkas. They do not have exact timetables but leave whenever are full. The drivers hit the road in mad speed, so without decades of practice and strong nerves, you should not attempt driving yourself. But in Georgia, you do not really need to rent a car. Public transport is ridiculously cheap or you can join the many 1-4 day tours organized by small local agencies.
Prices: 1-day group tour costs around $20-25, a dinner for two people $8, a couple of hours marshrutka ride $10. On average, a traveler would spend about $20 a day.
Sheila of Dicas De Paris
Croatia has been put under the spotlight recently. Fans of Game of Thrones, shot around Dubrovnik know what I am referring to. And with the increase in Croatia’s popularity, you may wonder if Croatia can still be considered a budget destination. My answer to this question is yes!
Although places such as Split and Hvar are not so cheap at the peak of the high summer season, you can still find good prices if you go in late August and September. Temperatures will still be high, but milder, which I prefer, and you’ll still have plenty to do there.
I would avoid visiting Croatia between October and April: during this fall/winter period, with the lowest temperatures, a visit to Croatia can be a bit melancholic.
If you want to get the most out of your money, I would avoid visiting the most famous cities in Croatia. Explore the Istrian region, starting with the city of Rijeka, going up Opatija, going down to the historic city of Pula, with its Roman Coliseum, and ascending until Pórec. This region inherited the rich history of the Roman Empire as well as its delicious cuisine with many pizzas, local wines, and dishes based on truffles.
Accommodation prices in Croatia can go from $20 to $45 per night depending on the type (hostel, hotel or Airbnb). A meal can range from $6 to $14 if you opt for a very good restaurant in a tourist area. Transportation between cities in the region can be as cheap as $3.50 if you travel by bus. And good coffee costs between $0.60 to $1.70: the cheapest espresso in Europe!
Peter and Lauren from Our So Called Life
Latvia is a great budget-friendly country to visit. Nestled in amongst the three Baltic states in north-east Europe and filled with a rich culture and plenty of things to see and do.
We visited the capital city of Riga for three days, spending around $48 per person per day on food and doing one or two of the attractions on each. An average evening meal costs approx $13 per person but there are also more budget-friendly options available for those looking to spend less.
Transport costs in Riga are very reasonable with a 24-hour transport ticket which works on trams, buses, and trolleybuses, costing around $5 per person. Alternatively, if able, you can make your way around the city of Riga by foot which can reduce your cost even more. Accommodation can go from $15 for a hostel to $28 a night per person.
What we loved most about Latvia was the fact that it was a melting pot of so many different cultures and that showed in the architecture. There were no two buildings the same, with streets filled with colorful architecture from various design periods and influences including art nouveau and gothic.
If you’re looking for a destination that’s completely unique and offers plenty of experiences whilst still being affordable, we can’t recommend Latvia enough.
Oliver from Aciu
If you are already traveling around Europe, consider Lithuania. It’s your gateway to the Baltic region. Getting to Lithuania by bus from other cities is quite cheap, between $12to $50.
In Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, you could spend as little as $22 a day. This would include staying at a hostel, buying a few groceries, and even enjoying some local food while you are out and about.
Finding a hostel that includes breakfast is quite easy and that will save you one meal a day. You can find hostels for around $10- $15 a night. Hostels aren’t your thing? Don’t worry, you can find some great little minimalistic hotels for $22- $38 a night.
Food is surprisingly cheap. $6 a day goes a long way at the grocery store. Eating at a restaurant can cost $6- $12 a meal depending on where you decide to eat.
There is so much to discover in Lithuania. Even something as amazing as Trakai Castle won’t break the bank. The train to Trakai from Vilnius costs around $4 and the entrance fee is $8 to the castle.
Lithuania can be really cheap to visit but is a super-rich experience. You won’t regret it.
Dorota from Born Globals
Poland is a beautiful and diverse country. You can find everything there – beautiful architecture in the cities, lovely nature in the mountains. Poland has 28 mountain ranges and each of them is different! Poland also has spectacular seaside in the north.
And the incredible thing is that Poland is still a paradise for travelers on a budget, especially in comparison to Western Europe.
You can eat out for less than 15 PLN ($4) if you go to a “milk bar” (bar mleczny). Expect to pay between $8-$12 for your main course in a mid-range restaurant. If you want to save on accommodation, a bed in a backpacker hostel can be as cheap as $5. If you look for more comfort, a mid-range room for two should cost approximately $25. Costs of transportation depend on how far you’re going. Generally, the fastest train between cities costs $35. However, if you choose slower trains or book a month in advance you can go the same way for $15.
To sum up, Poland is a great destination for all travelers. It’s diversified and it can fit in your budget much more than other countries in Western Europe.
Jéssica from Crunchy Motherhood
Portugal is much more than a holiday country, it’s also one of the most budget-friendly countries in Europe. It’s such a cheap country then no matter what diet you are on, you will find plenty of meal diversification for $170 month or less! So even as a backpacker, you can expect to explore and eat well, with plenty on offer.
Once you are in Portugal you can choose from different options: you not only have the best surf beaches but you can also find plenty of mountains to hike, eco-villages to visit and nature to explore.
There are many other reasons to explore this country, rich in tradition and culture. Beautiful historic old towns, museums, and natural fountains are everywhere. Scuba-diving or airplane jumping are some of the most popular experiences for adventure lovers, but if you fancy something less risky, then a magnificent pirate ship trip to natural coast caves is a lovely experience.
Airbnb apartments can vary from around $20 to $80 depending on the area and season. You can get a glass of fresh orange juice for $2.80, $0.80 for a coffee or full meal for as little as $6-$8. If you plan to move around in public transportation, you can expect to pay as little as $3.50 a day in bigger cities or around $35 for a 2-way bus ticket from the capital to the south.
Or from My Path In The World
Romania is a European destination that often gets overlooked, yet it’s budget-friendly and offers such a wide variety of things to do and see, that you have to add it to your bucket list.
You can enjoy its urban side by visiting cities like Bucharest or experience its traditional side by exploring regions like Transylvania (which is home to the most charming villages). With 14 national parks perfect for scenic drives and outdoor activities, Romania is also an amazing destination for nature lovers. It amazes me how such an underrated gem can be such a diverse and interesting place to visit.
To understand the cost of traveling in Romania, it’s important to know that the local currency is Lei (or RON) and that 1 RON is worth about $0.23. You’ll pay about $12 for a 3-course meal at a mid-range restaurant and $1-$2 for coffee.
As for transportation and hotels, a one-way bus ticket should cost about $0.50, a taxi will charge $0.50 per km, and you can find accommodations for literally every budget.
Stephanie from Sofia Adventures
Serbia is an excellent budget destination. Traveling on $50 you can get a lot of bang for your buck. If you’re traveling solo, you can generally get a dorm bunk or a private room, food, and activities in for this budget. If you’re traveling with a friend and you can split an Airbnb apartment or a private hotel room, your money will stretch even further.
While planning your Belgrade activities, note that you can get a taxi to most places in the city for less than $4, most museums cost $5 or less to visit (and many have free days), and so many of the best things to do in Belgrade are free.
Buses around the country are economical, so you can get out to Novi Sad, Novi Pazar, and Nis without breaking the bank.
The only thing that’s really more expensive in Serbia compared to other European countries is renting cars, so use public transportation if you’re looking to keep things on a strict budget.
You can eat street food, groceries, and baked goods from Serbian pekaras for less than $10 a day, or you can splurge and enjoy some of the nicer mid-level restaurants for closer to $20.
Jamie from Crashed Culture
When I moved to Spain, it was definitely a breath of fresh air to find out how cheap it was! I was only living on 1,000 euros a month, and that was PLENTY for everyday life and a lot of traveling. Groceries were only about $22 a week. Because I was under 26, I qualified for Madrid’s public transportation deal of 10 euros a month for unlimited travel (which really cut down on my living costs). And thanks to a really great deal I stumbled upon, I found myself housing for $280 a month that was just a metro trip away!
Thanks to how economical Spain is, I really got to enjoy the country for what it is. Especially Madrid, where I was living, is such a popular place to visit, I got to meet so many different kinds of people and have so many different experiences. Honestly, whatever you like to do when you travel, you can find it here: history, culture, languages (and not just Spanish), and even just the bar crowd.
You can make Spain whatever you want it to be, and you can do it on the cheap. Remember, authentic tapas are only a couple of euros each ($2.50), and they’re meant to be split between a group of people!
Cheapest countries to visit in Africa
Lee from The Travel Scribes
Africa is jammed full of cheap destinations but, of course, not all of these destinations are entirely safe to visit. Kenya, the powerhouse of East Africa, is one notable exception. The country can be visited cheaply and is generally considered safe to travel.
What makes Kenya so special is its fusion of local culture and sheer, raw natural beauty. We love that you can see some of the world’s most incredible national parks by going on safari, seeing wildlife like lions and giraffes roam freely in famous sanctuaries like the Maasai Mara or Amboseli. If you time it right, you can even see one of the globe’s largest natural migrations – 1.5 million wildebeests and zebras crossing the country.
Beyond seeing animals in the wild, you can relax on Kenya’s beaches, climb it’s amazing Mount Kenya or even go river-rafting. If it’s a city fix you’re after, Nairobi – the capital – offers you a glimpse into African life with its frenetic streets and loud, colorful culture.
Kenya can be done cheaply on about $15-30 USD a day. this includes staying in cheaper hotels or hostels, eating local food and visit affordable attractions like riding an ostrich ($5) or visiting an elephant orphanage. If you want to add in a traditional safari, you are looking at around $80 per person per day, with the cheaper park being Nairobi National Park, at $40 a day per entry.
A great alternative, if you are staying in Nairobi, is to do a walking safari at the Hells Gate National Park. Its entrance fee of $26 for tourists is much more affordable than a full-on safari and you won’t miss a chance to see animals in the wild.
Nicole from Nicole La Barge
Ethiopia is one of the cheapest countries to visit in the world and has something for everyone. It’s a diverse country with so much to offer from culture, history, food, and wildlife. You can find a hotel room in Ethiopia for $10 a night. Ethiopia is one of the cheapest countries to travel in Africa and you can get a meal for less than $5.
Gondar in Ethiopia is the jumping-off point to go trekking in the Simien Mountains in northern Ethiopia in search of the Gelada Baboon which is only found there. This was a highlight for me. The landscape is spectacular after millions of years of erosion which has created deep valleys and jagged peaks.
There are several treks in the Simien Mountains offering amazing scenery and plenty of wildlife such as the ibex (a wild goat found nowhere else in the world), caracal, and Ethiopian wolves. The Simien Mountains are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and well worth a visit as it is like nowhere else on earth.
Allison from Eternal Arrival
In general, Africa can be an expensive continent to visit, but Morocco on a budget is definitely possible, especially on a mid-range budget (around $50 per day)! Traveling in this incredibly photogenic and interesting country is actually rather affordable. A meal can cost anywhere from $1 for a simple street food sandwich to around $4-5 for a sit-down meal in a non-touristic location. Fancier dinners with shows can cost up to around $20+ or more. Alcohol is not illegal in Morocco but it is not commonly sold and when it is, it is not cheap, so if you are on a budget I recommend refraining from drinking. A nice but comfortable riad for two people will cost around $20 per night or more.
Transportation can be a bit on the expensive side, with a multi-hour bus, train, or grand taxi between cities averaging around $20-40 on the low end and can rise if you use a fancier company like CTM or purchase a first-class ticket. Tours, however, are extremely affordable with a 3-day tour in the Sahara Desert averaging to around $40 per day per person or less.
And of course, you’ll want to factor in some money for shopping in Morocco, which was easily my favorite part of traveling Morocco (except for seeing the beautiful Sahara Desert!). To save money, stick to fewer cities to reduce expensive transportation days, eat local, and haggle mercilessly in the souks, especially in Marrakech!
Sara from Gathering Dreams
I’ve always had a dream to stand in front of the pyramids of Giza one day. Seeing with my own eyes what an ancient civilization could achieve over 5,000 years ago was something I really wanted to experience. And I have to say: it was one of the most incredible things I’ve done in my life.
Despite the recent civil unrest, if you stay safe and travel in tourist destinations, you won’t be in danger in Egypt. People are friendly and want you to experience what their incredible country has to offer.
While Cairo is quite polluted and chaotic, you absolutely have to visit the Egyptian museum. It’s one of my favorite museums in the world, and I’ve seen plenty. Luxor is also extraordinary. I was in constant awe of every sight: the Valley of the Kings and Karnak Temple are hard to forget. You can end your day on a felucca cruise along the river Nile during sunset: so romantic!
And all of this can be done on a budget! You can eat a good local meal for $8-$10 a day. And book a mid-range hotel room for $30-$40 or a hostel for as little as $15 a night. You just need to make sure you budget for transportation (going around in taxi or Uber, is the best option). Set some money aside to visit the attractions. Around $10 for access to the pyramids of Giza grounds. Plus $20 if you want to enter inside the great pyramid. Another $5 for the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.
Overall, very affordable on every budget!
Cheapest Countries To Visit in 2021
Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Iran, Laos, Philippines, Malaysia
Ecuador, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Cuba, Mexico
Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain
Kenya, Ethiopia, Morocco, Egypt
Ready to travel to some of the cheapest countries in the world?
If you have more cheap places to suggest, I would love to hear from you! This list just scratches the surface! There are so many incredible destinations around the world where you can travel on a budget. You really don’t have to break the bank to have an incredible time on your next vacation. And if you are traveling with friends or as a couple you can save so much more on accommodation by sharing the cost!
Traveling and exploring the world is so rewarding! So what are you waiting for?
Now it’s the perfect time to go!
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