Have you ever dreamed of traveling to some of the most beautiful places on Earth? I know I have. It’s a very common dream for many of us who live in this big world. But what about the budget part of it?
We want to see and experience many amazing things, but not all of us can afford being in other countries for months and sometimes even years at a time. So for those who love traveling but also like to enjoy it with minimum costs, here are the top 10 destinations for budget travelers.
Thailand is easily one of the most popular destinations for budget travelers, and with good reason. The country has something to offer every kind of traveler, from beaches and islands to mountains and jungle. Accommodation is plentiful, with a wide range of hotels and hostels offering excellent value for money. Food is cheap, too — as little as $1 for some meals.
Local transportation is also very inexpensive with buses and trains crisscrossing the country at low prices. A bus ride from Chiang Mai in the north to Bangkok in the south can cost as little as $18 USD.
While Thailand may be known for its party scene, especially on Phi Phi Island, it's not all about getting wild. There are plenty of quieter places to go if you're looking for a more serene experience in Thailand — so don't write off this amazing country just because you don't want to get wasted every night!
- Paris, France
At just over $100 USD per day, Paris is one of the great benefits of having a strong dollar. You can stay at a hostel for about $35 USD per night and get a meal for under $10 USD.
The city of lights also offers plenty of opportunities to save money without having to sacrifice the experience. Free museums are available on the first Sunday of each month and there are plenty of free parks and attractions to explore throughout the city.
You can take advantage of cheap flights within Europe by flying with budget airlines like Ryanair or EasyJet, but you’ll want to fly into Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) instead of Beauvais airport (BVA), which is used by some cheap airlines but further away from the city center.
- London, United Kingdom
While London is known as being expensive, it’s actually cheaper than many other cities in Europe. With a daily budget under $100 USD per person, you can still enjoy your trip on a relatively tight budget (which is good because you’ll need every penny to shop in this amazing city).
Staying at a hostel will cost about $30 USD per night and you can find meals for under $10 USD at a local hotel or airbnb.
The Philippine Islands have something for everyone. On the one hand, it's popular as a party destination with backpackers and flashpackers; on the other, it's home to pristine beaches and tons of history that cater to mid-range and luxury travelers. For those who love adventure, there are plenty of opportunities to hike, swim and kayak — all at a great value.
Vietnam is a relatively affordable country to visit. A week's worth of lodging, food, trips and activities in the cities can cost as little as $50 per day. Many travelers spend less.
A good place to start is in Ho Chi Minh City, once known as Saigon. The city has been a popular destination for backpackers and budget travelers since the Vietnam War. Today it's a modern metropolis with plenty to see and do. The city is home to several parks, museums, temples and markets.
For those looking for more adventure, take a trek up to Nha Trang or Dalat. Nha Trang sits along the coast and offers plenty of water sports including scuba diving and boat tours of nearby islands. Dalat is a small mountain town with cool weather, waterfalls and lakes — a nice change from the warmer coastal towns.
The capital city of Hanoi is one of the most popular destinations in Vietnam due to its rich history and culture. The city has museums (including the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum), parks and many temples including the Temple of Literature which was established in 1070 as Vietnam's first university.
India is a lot more than just the Taj Mahal.
Yes, it's the country's most famous attraction, and it's one of the world's seven wonders. But there are so many other attractions across this colorful, varied country, from the ancient palaces and forts of Rajasthan to the wealthy temples of Tamil Nadu and the unique backwaters of Kerala.
But, you might ask, why choose India for your next vacation? The answer is that it's an incredibly diverse land: You can visit an Indian city and not see anything like it again for weeks or months. There are 29 states, each distinct from its neighbors in language, culture and food. Everywhere you go there are different sights to see and new experiences to have.
India has some of the best beaches in Asia, with beautiful Goa being a perennial favorite with foreigners and Indians alike. And if you're looking for adventure, try trekking in Ladakh or rock climbing in Hampi (Karnataka).
Kuala Lumpur is a cultural and culinary melting pot, with Chinese, Indian and Malay influences, plus many more exotic Asian flavors. The city is ultra-modern and constantly evolving as it embraces new architecture and styles from around the globe. Head to one of the country's many street food stalls for your fill of delicious Malaysian fare; you can find everything from deep-fried bananas to spicy chicken curries.
Nepal is the perfect destination for budget travelers. The country offers a variety of inexpensive accommodation, from basic guesthouses to cheap hotels. You can get around on foot or by taking a public bus. And you can eat out for as little as $1 per meal.
Nepal has some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in the world, especially when it comes to mountains. There’s also plenty of diverse culture to take in and experience, including Buddhist temples and religious sites like Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhu (the Monkey Temple) and Boudhanath Stupa, ancient Newari architecture and Hindu shrines.
And then there’s trekking. Nepal is famous for its hiking trails, thanks to its proximity to the Himalayas. Some treks — like Everest Base Camp — are more expensive than others, but even the costlier ones are still relatively affordable compared to other destinations.
- Japan (Tokyo)
With daily flights to Tokyo and Osaka, Japan's capital and largest city has never been more accessible. And if you're traveling on a budget, you'll find the famously expensive country is actually full of affordable surprises.
Japan is a temple-packed land of fascinating history that offers a wide range of affordable accommodation from immaculate hostels to ryokans (traditional inns).
Then there are the shrines and temples that are free to enter, as well as many parks and gardens. You can also visit Japan for under 10 dollars a day, with plenty of cheap food options like sushi trains and yakitori alleyways.
If you're looking for something more contemporary, Tokyo's Harajuku district offers boutiques, cafes, quirky fashion stores and markets.
- Sri Lanka
Once thought of as a forgotten corner of the world, Sri Lanka has recently emerged as one of the hottest new destinations on Earth, with Lonely Planet naming it one of their top ten countries to visit in 2019. The small island nation (about the size of Ireland) is blessed with stunning natural beauty — from palm-fringed beaches to rolling hills covered in tea plantations, wildlife parks teeming with elephants, leopards and crocodiles, and eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It also has an ancient Buddhist culture which is reflected in spectacular temples, richly decorated monasteries, and colorful festivals.
With its low prices and exotic appeal, this up-and-coming destination is likely to attract more travelers in coming years; experiencing it now will feel like getting in on the secret before everyone else finds out about it.
If you’re searching for the perfect travel destination, then consider a country where other tourists aren’t flocking. In a time when budgets are tight and resources are strained, reducing our carbon footprint has never been more important. So get off the beaten path this year and explore these destinations for budget travelers to make your own discoveries and save money along the way.