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If want to book a much-needed getaway but can’t splash out too much, these are some of the cheapest countries to travel to for fun, adventure, and relaxation on a modest budget.
Naturally, every country has its pricey areas, cities, and activities, and its less expensive ones, too. If you’re willing to do as the locals do, you can enjoy great food and wonderful experiences, and make some beautiful memories in these 18 countries. I’ve even included some great accommodation options to help with your planning.
Cheapest Countries to Travel To
1 – Bulgaria
One of the cheapest destinations to visit in Europe is Bulgaria. The Eastern European country is known for its lively capital city, the beautiful countryside, and many cities and resorts to enjoy the Bulgarian coast on the Black Sea.
Visiting Bulgaria is affordable on every level. You can find cheap flights to Sofia from many European capitals and move around the country for cheap. Furthermore, you’ll find accommodation at a fraction of the cost in other European cities, and you can eat out delicious traditional meals without breaking the bank.
Start your trip by flying to Sofia to explore the beautiful capital and visit the famous St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. From Sofia, take a day trip to the historic Plovdiv, the quaint town of Koprivshtitsa, or Asenovgrad, home to the impressive Asen’s Fortress. You can also find great guided tours of Sofia’s surroundings for as little as 20 euros.
While in Bulgaria, don’t forget to sample traditional Bulgarian foods such as tarator (cold cucumber soup), the typical Bulgarian pastry banitsa, or patatnik, a traditional meal in the Rhodope mountains. You can easily have a nice meal for under 10 euros.
Budget Accommodation: Hostel Mostel Sofia is a modern, centrally located hostel with comfortable beds and a kitchen available for guests.
High-end Accommodation: Hotel Anel is a five-star hotel in the center of Sofia with a swimming pool, a fitness center, and a spa and wellness center, all for a very affordable price
2 – Romania
Connected by cheap flights from many European cities, Romania is another country you can visit on a budget. Explore the capital Bucharest with its beautiful Old Town, the peaceful Cișmigiu park, and the imposing Parliament building, all of which you can admire for free. Consider also joining a walking tour for free, just give a small tip at the end.
You can admire beautiful art at the Romanian National Museum of Art for less than 5 euros and watch a show at the National Opera House for as little as 3 euros.
As for food options, you can sample traditional meals for as little as 4 euros and eat at a popular restaurant in the Old Town for roughly 10 euros. Try the sarmale (cabbage rolls filled with rice, vegetables, and meat) or one of the many traditional soups.
From Bucharest, join a guided day tour to the wonderful Peleș Castle and Bran Castle for under 25 euros. Alternatively, hop on a train to Brașov for less than 6 euros and explore the wonderful region of Transylvania.
With affordable accommodation, inexpensive and delicious Romanian food, and many attractions for free or only a few euros, you can easily explore Romania on a tight budget.
Budget Accommodation: Sleep Inn Hostel has affordable dorm beds in spacious rooms across the street from Bucharest Old Town.
High-end Accommodation: a short walk from Bucharest Old Town, Capitol Hotel is a four-star hotel with simple yet elegant rooms, an on-site restaurant, and a classy bar.
3 – Montenegro
Montenegro is probably the Balkan country offering the best balance of gorgeous destinations and low prices. Skip the capital Podgorica and explore the area of Kotor Bay and the Adriatic coast for stunning nature, gorgeous beaches, and impressive historical towns.
While flights to Montenegro may not be cheap from many European destinations, Kotor is conveniently located near the Croatian border, so you can fly to Dubrovnik and catch a bus there.
Stay in the charming walled city of Kotor and explore the bay on your own or on a boat tour. Tours around the bay are between 15 and 30 euros. Bus tickets cost roughly one euro for each ride, so you can explore charming towns like Perast or Orahovac.
Alternatively, enjoy a free, lovely stroll along the bay and stop at a restaurant for a delicious, inexpensive meal with a view.
From Kotor, catch a bus to visit some towns along the Adriatic shore. Budva, Sveti Stefan, and Petrovac are the must-see spots on the coast, and bus tickets from Kotor cost between 4 and 7 euros.
Budget Accommodation: Hostel Pupa features clean, spacious dorms and a big shared lounge to have meals, work, or socialize. The hostel is just outside the walled city.
High-end Accommodation: Located smack in the center of Kotor Old Town and featuring a lovely terrace, a restaurant, and a bar, Hotel Monte Cristo is one of the best places to stay in the city.
Related: 15 Montenegro Foods to Try
4 – Albania
If you want to explore beautiful villages and stunning beach destinations in Europe, Albania offers all this at low prices. Catch an affordable flight to Tirana and explore other parts of the country by bus.
Tirana is great for cheap restaurants where you can eat traditional meals at 4/5 euros, cool museums, and the impressive Dajti Express Cable Car offering sweeping views of the city for just 6 euros for a round trip.
However, the best places to explore in Albania are the small villages and beautiful beach destinations in the south. Check out Dhërmi, Sarandë, and Ksamil for stunning turquoise waters and beautiful beaches.
As for picturesque towns and villages, Theth, Gjirokaster, and Himarë are just a few places worth visiting. You may not be able to get everywhere by bus, but you can also find inexpensive shuttle transfers. For most bus rides, you’ll spend 3 or 4 euros each.
Budget Accommodation: A short walk from most attractions in the city, Blue Door Hostel is a modern hostel with spacious rooms and delicious breakfast.
High-end Accommodation: Allure Boutique Hotel is a relatively new hotel in the center of Tirana, just a few minutes from Skanderbeg Square, featuring beautifully decorated, spacious rooms for ridiculously low prices.
Related: 17 Albanian Foods to Try
5 – Hungary
Another relatively cheap destination in Europe is Hungary. Though the capital city Budapest is a popular travel destination in Europe, it remains very affordable compared to other big capitals. With cheap flights from most European cities and a perfect location in central Europe, Budapest is only a couple of hours away from anywhere in Europe.
Indulge in delicious yet cheap goulash (roughly 4 euros), visit beautiful landmarks like Fisherman’s Bastion for free, and go out for drinks at the typical ruin bars.
Related: 16 Hungarian Foods You Will Love
The city is so dreamy that you can simply walk around and admire its gorgeous architecture, parks, and landmarks without spending a dime. However, it’s worth paying for a sightseeing cruise on the Danube. Prices start at just 10 euros.
If you’re looking to go on day trips from Budapest, try Esztergom, Vác, or Eger. Train tickets cost as little as 1.5 euros and up to 6.5 euros.
Budget Accommodation: Perfect for meeting fellow travelers, The Hive Party Hostel Budapest is one of the best places to stay in central Budapest for backpackers and travelers on a budget.
High-end Accommodation: Bohem Art Hotel is a hip hotel in the center of Budapest, just 2 minutes from the Danube, with modern rooms and a delicious breakfast.
6 – Mexico
Just a short flight away from many US cities, Mexico is a wonderful destination to visit without breaking the bank. Flying to Mexico from the US is often inexpensive, and even flights from Europe are cheap compared to other destinations in the Americas.
In the Yucatán peninsula, you can discover wonderful cenotes and spectacular Caribbean beaches. In Mexico City, you can soak up the Mexican traditions and culture, sample delicious Mexican cuisine, visit cool museums, check out the lively and colorful markets, and participate in all kinds of activities and events.
But there’s much more to Mexico. Other stunning budget destinations are Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido, Loreto, and Guanajuato. These places have plenty of things to do for free and offer affordable accommodation options and food. Expect to spend between $3 and $6 for a traditional meal at inexpensive restaurants.
Budget Accommodation: Casa Eufemia Hostel is a charming, colorful hostel in the center of Mexico City, with a lovely rooftop terrace.
High-end Accommodation: Hotel Catedral is a four-star hotel in the heart of Mexico City, with an on-site restaurant and delicious breakfast included in the room price.
7 – Guatemala
Guatemala’s stunning nature is reason enough to visit the Central American country. The fact that everything is very affordable is a bonus. Also, being less touristy than other countries in Central America, you’ll avoid the crowds and get in touch with the local culture. Spend some time exploring Antigua and discover the lovely villages around Lake Atitlan.
If you travel on a tight budget, you can move around Guatemala with cheap and flashy local buses, also called chicken buses. For a couple of dollars, you can get virtually anywhere. For better comfort, shuttle buses are still affordable.
Accommodation all around Guatemala is very cheap, and the delicious local food will only cost you between 4 and 6 dollars a meal. Furthermore, most of what is worth exploring in Guatemala, from natural landscapes to charming villages, is free.
The only significant expenses are the guided tours but trust me, you don’t want to miss hiking the Acatenango volcano.
Budget Accommodation: Esperanza Hostel is one of the cheapest stays you’ll find in Antigua, but it has everything a budget traveler needs and allows you to meet people.
High-end Accommodation: In the heart of Antigua, Hotel Posada de la Luna features comfortable, spacious rooms, a lovely outdoor seating area, and a delicious breakfast.
Related: 16 Guatemalan Foods You Need to Try
8 – Nicaragua
Another affordable country to visit in Central America is Nicaragua. Boasting stunning beaches on both coasts, impressive volcanos, beautiful colonial cities, and spectacular nature preserves, Nicaragua is a must-see for budget travelers.
From the beautiful cities of León and Granada to the wonderful Lake Nicaragua and its inner islands, there is much to discover in Nicaragua. Like in Guatemala, you can move around with the cheap and authentic chicken buses or the slightly more expensive yet still affordable shuttles.
Accommodation in Nicaragua is particularly cheap, and meals will only cost you 4 or 5 dollars at inexpensive restaurants. Expect to find a lot of Gallo Pinto, a staple of Nicaraguan cuisine. Finally, you’ll likely spend a little extra on tours, such as the unique volcano boarding tour on Cerro Negro, which costs roughly $30.
If you’re visiting Nicaragua for its beach destinations, don’t miss the popular yet beautiful San Juan del Sur, the gorgeous Corn Islands, and Playa La Redonda.
Budget Accommodation: For a cheap stay in León, try Volcano Hostel, a lively hostel featuring a small pool and a convenience store.
High-end Accommodation: Hotel El Convento is one of the best high-end options in León, boasting a gorgeous garden, big rooms, a fitness center, and an on-site restaurant.
9 – Ecuador
Going further south, Ecuador is one of the cheapest South American countries to visit. Not only are flights from the US affordable, but staying and getting around Ecuador is very cheap too.
With public transportation ranging from cheap yet often rundown local buses to luxury buses for long distances and even a few train connections, you’ll find many affordable options to move around the country.
As far as Ecuadorian food goes, you can find reasonable meals for roughly $4 at cheap restaurants. While in Ecuador, you must try the national dish, Bolon de Verde, which consists of a fried ball of dough filled with mashed green plantain and meat.
As for the things to see and do in Ecuador, the list can get long, but you shouldn’t miss hiking one of the volcanos like Chimborazo or Cotopaxi, visiting the beautiful cities of Quito and Cuenca, and going on a scenic train ride through the Andes, like the spectacular La Nariz del Diablo.
Budget Accommodation: Colonial House Inn is a hostel in the heart of Quito, offering cheap dorm beds and common areas to meet people and socialize, including a game area.
High-end Accommodation: Located in a residential area at the border of the trendy La Floresta neighborhood, 9D Hotel offers beautiful rooms with city views, a fitness center, and a snack bar.
10 – Bolivia
Bolivia is home to the spectacular Salar de Uyuni, the picturesque Lake Titicaca, the Laguna Colorada with its flamingos, and the beautiful capital of La Paz, the highest capital city in the world, at an altitude of 3650 meters above sea level. With a great mix of culture, natural landscape, and low prices, Bolivia is a must-see destination for budget travelers.
Discover the streets, markets, and museums in La Paz, relax and explore the Inca ruins and traditional villages around Lake Titicaca, and join a tour of the salt flats.
The tour to Salar de Uyuni is probably the biggest expense, but you can also visit the salt flats on your own if your budget is tight. Guided tours, however, are the recommended option.
Food can be extremely affordable in Bolivia, with restaurant meals as cheap as $3. You can easily have breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 10 euros or less. Don’t miss out on anticuchos (skewered beef heart) and Pique Macho, an indulging meal packing fries, beef, hard-boiled eggs, sausage, and veggies.
Budget Accommodation: Located in the heart of La Paz and offering a bar and a delicious breakfast included, Wake Up Hostel is one of the best low-cost accommodation options in Bolivia’s capital city.
High-end Accommodation: La Casona Hotel Boutique features cozy rooms, a beautiful terrace, a restaurant, and a tasty breakfast included.
11 – Morocco
Morocco is one of the safest and easiest countries to visit in Africa on a budget. Connected by cheap flights from many European capitals, Morocco boasts lively cities, charming little villages, wonderful nature, and beautiful beaches.
Fly to Marrakech, Tangier, Rabat, or Fes to discover Moroccan culture through Moroccan cuisine, lively souks (markets), beautiful historical palaces, and wonderful mosques. From Marrakech, join one of the many affordable trips to the desert.
If you visit Fes or Tangier, don’t forget to go on a day trip to the wonderful Chefchaouen, also known as the Blue Pearl. For beach destinations, explore Essaouira and Agadir, which are also great spots for surfing.
Accommodation in Morocco is very cheap, and you can easily find hostel dorms for roughly $7 and nice private rooms for just over $20. When it comes to food, you can enjoy delicious Moroccan dishes for around $5. As for transportation around the country, buses tend to be very cheap, and you can also find very affordable shared taxis.
Budget Accommodation: Kasbah Red Castle Hostel is a cheap hostel in the lively Kasbah area, perfect for budget travelers looking to save money and meet people.
High-end Accommodation: Hotel Kasbah Le Mirage & Spa is a wonderful place if you don’t mind staying outside Marrakech. With a free shuttle bus service to the city center, a spa and wellness center, a restaurant, and a bar, you’ll have everything you need at a very convenient price.
12 – Egypt
Another destination you shouldn’t miss in Africa is Egypt. With its spectacular ancient temples, pyramids, and wonderful beaches on the Red Sea, Egypt is the place to go if you are curious about ancient history and want to discover spectacular landmarks.
Known for all-inclusive resorts and luxury cruises along the Nile, Egypt may not be the first country that comes to mind for a budget trip. However, if you skip the expensive guided tours and avoid the western restaurants and hotels, you’ll find that Egypt can be pretty cheap.
You can easily find affordable accommodation, be it hostel dorms or basic private rooms, and you can eat out at $2 for street food and $4/5 for a good restaurant meal. The slightly more expensive things can be entrances to landmarks and attractions.
If you plan on staying for at least five days and visiting many monuments and landmarks, consider getting a travel pass (you can find Cairo and Luxor Passes) to save some money.
Budget Accommodation: Located in downtown Cairo, Castle Hostel has spacious dorms with city views and bunk beds with curtains for privacy.
High-end Accommodation: Stay Inn Cairo Hotel is a four-star hotel in an upscale area featuring modern air-conditioned rooms and an on-site restaurant.
Related: Egyptian Food: 20 Dishes to Try
13 – Thailand
When it comes to cheap countries to travel to in Asia, you have plenty of choices, with Thailand being among the top destinations for a spectacular budget trip. Your main expense will be the flight to get there, but other than that, everything is cheap, including flights within the country.
Thailand is one of the most popular countries among backpackers for good reasons. Hostel rooms can be as cheap as $10 per night, depending on the area, and you can find nice private rooms for just a bit more.
As for food, you’re in for a treat. Buy delicious street food for less than $1 and enjoy nice restaurant meals for just $3. This is your chance to binge on Pad Thai, Moo Satay (pork skewers), and Poh Pia Tod (fried spring rolls).
Visit some of the most impressive temples in Thailand, check out some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever see, and go island hopping. Ferries are relatively cheap, while on land, you can travel by train or bus on a budget. Finally, don’t forget to get a massage for as little as $7.
While Bangkok may be chaotic, its vibrant atmosphere is part of the charm, so don’t skip a few days in the city.
Budget Accommodation: Aekkeko Hostel is a charming, colorful hostel in the heart of Phuket town, with a shared kitchen and sitting areas, perfect for meeting other travelers.
High-end Accommodation: At The Malika Hotel, you can stay at a gorgeous hotel with a swimming pool in Phuket town for the price you would pay for a good hostel in most European Capitals.
Related: 20 Thai Foods You Need to Try
14 – Indonesia
A paradise for backpackers and digital nomads, Indonesia is another Southeast Asian country you should visit if you are on a tight budget.
Bali may be your first choice in Indonesia, and for good reason. With adorable yet inexpensive cafés, spectacular temples, beautiful beaches, and a big expats community, Bali is the go-to place to enjoy beautiful nature and meet people.
The great thing about Bali, and Indonesia in general, is that you can find affordable yet gorgeous accommodation options. If hostel beds are around $7-8, you can also find beautiful bungalows and villas for as little as $30.
As for food, you can eat delicious street food for less than $1 and have a nice meal at a restaurant for just $5.
Budget Accommodation: If you’re looking for a nice hostel in Bali at the price of a coffee in the US, The Hostel Canggu might be the spot for you.
High-end Accommodation: Villa Melasti Amed is a wonderful villa with a garden, a swimming pool, and included breakfast, a short walk from Amed beach.
Related: 26 Best Indonesian Foods to Try
15 – Cambodia
With awe-inspiring landmarks such as the world-renowned Angkor Wat, Bayon temple, the Floating Village in Siem Reap, and the gorgeous Phnom Kulen National Park, there are plenty of places to visit in Cambodia for budget travelers.
Although flights to Cambodia can be expensive, if you plan a bigger trip to Southeast Asia, you can fly there for cheap from neighboring countries.
The cost of living in Cambodia is very low, with accommodation as cheap as $5 for a hostel bed and rooms for just $20 a night. Eating out is also inexpensive. You can find great street food for under $1, and eat a great meal at a restaurant for less than $5.
To move around Cambodia, opt for buses, a reliable and inexpensive way to move between the main cities. Your biggest expenses in Cambodia will likely be entry tickets to landmarks such as Angkor Wat.
Budget Accommodation: At Nangkol Village, in the heart of Phnom Penh, you can enjoy a swimming pool and a poolside bar while staying in a very affordable dorm.
High-end Accommodation: Featuring a rooftop pool, an on-site restaurant, and a fitness center, The ONRA Hotel is a four-star hotel in Phnom Penh.
Related: 19 Best Places to Visit in Cambodia
16 – Laos
One of the less popular countries in Southeast Asia, Laos is landlocked by Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, and China. If reaching Laos can be expensive from Europe or the US, you can find convenient flights from other Asian countries, like Thailand or Singapore.
Despite the relatively high cost to reach the country, Laos remains one of the most affordable options in Asia. Visit the capital city of Vientiane, explore the temples, museums, and markets in the ancient capital Luang Prabang, swim in the gorgeous Kuang Si Waterfall, and discover the beautiful landscapes around Vang Vieng.
Sleeping in a hostel dorm in Laos costs as little as $6. Eating out is also affordable, as low as $6 for three daily meals. Even getting around is cheap, with buses being the main means of transportation. A bus ride between the major cities will cost you as little as $5.
Budget Accommodation: Barn1920s Hostel is a hostel in the center of Vientiane, offering bunk beds with curtains for privacy and a nice breakfast included at a very low price.
High-end Accommodation: Capitol Residence features studios and executive rooms with delicious breakfast in the heart of Vientiane. A fitness center and an on-site bar are just two of the many facilities.
17 – Vietnam
Stunning natural landscapes, historical towns, beautiful beaches, and lush natural parks make Vietnam the perfect place to discover vibrant culture and amazing nature.
Start by exploring the lovely capital city of Hanoi, then check out the historical houses of Hoi An, take a boat ride in Ba Be National Park, and get inspired by the spectacular scenery at Halong Bay.
Vietnam is one of the few Southeast Asian countries with a decent railway system, so you can reach many places by train. However, buses are the most affordable option and often cover long distances.
Accommodation costs in Vietnam are roughly the same as in other neighboring countries, with hostel beds from $3 and private rooms as cheap as $4. As for Vietnamese food, you’ll find extremely cheap options. A bowl of Pho, the traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, costs less than $2.
If you’re looking for an Asian country to explore on a tight budget, you can get around Vietnam for less than $25 per day on average, including accommodation.
Budget Accommodation: At Skybird Homestay, you can get a bed in a shared dorm in Hoi An for just $3.
High-end Accommodation: Memory Premier Hotel&Spa offers gorgeous rooms with A/C and room service in the heart of Hanoi at incredibly low prices.
18 – The Philippines
Last but not least, the Philippines is also a perfect choice for budget travelers. Counting over 7500 islands, the archipelago is the place to go for incredible beaches, island hopping, stunning rice terraces, and impressive volcanos.
As is the case for many Southeast Asian countries, your flight to the Philippines will be your biggest expense. However, you’ll make up for it with cheap accommodation and food. Hostel beds can be as little as $10, while eating out can be as little as $3 or less than $1 for street food.
Since the Philippines is an archipelago country, expect to be taking lots of ferries and boats (bangkas). Short ferry rides tend to be relatively inexpensive but be prepared to pay up to $60 for a long ride of nearly 40 hours, like the one from Manila to Cagayan de Oro.
Unless you take too many of these long trips, you should not break the bank on transportation. Ideally, pick a few Filipino islands that are relatively close together, like Boracay, Cebu, and Siargao.
Budget Accommodation: With a rooftop pool and bar, a restaurant, and even a nightclub, Mad Monkey Cebu City is the place to stay to meet people.
High-end Accommodation: At Havitat Boutique Hotel, you can stay in a beautiful five-star hotel in the center of Manila for the cost of your average dinner in a European capital.
Cheapest Countries to Travel To Summary
Don’t let budget come in the way of you getting out there and making some epic memories on the road. Even if you can’t quite spend the money you’d like to, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time.
Plenty of countries across several continents can offer great value for money when it comes to booking a vacation. You just need to spend a little time finding the right accommodation, travel, and activities that best suit your budget.
These 18 destinations are some of the most inexpensive in the world to plan a trip away. All of them can be planned on a modest budget, and all have plenty of beauty, cuisine, culture, and adventure laying in wait for you.
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Travel Tools and Resources
Need a little help and guidance planning your trip? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered!
- Travel Binder: Our 30+ page travel binder has everything you need to plan your trip from start to finish. You can download it, print as many pages as you need, and get everything booked, organized, and accounted for using our colorful guides, documents, and printables.
- Packing Lists: If you’re overwhelmed thinking about what you need to pack, use our free packing lists to help you out. We have a vacation packing list, a weekend packing list for shorter city break getaways, and a beach packing list for beach day trips, among many others.
- Booking Flights: We have used Skyscanner to book flights for many years and like their easy-to-use interface and the number of flight routes they are able to aggregate.
- Priority Pass is also a real game changer, as being able to relax and have food in any airport lounge before a flight makes flying a far more enjoyable experience.
- Booking Accommodations: We generally use Booking.com because of how many options they can find you and their generally flexible cancellation policies. We also use Hotels.com because you can build up reward points to use toward free stays. We also recommend Trusted Housesitters if you’re flexible with your dates, looking to budget, and traveling at a slower pace. In exchange for housekeeping and looking after someone’s pet, you can arrange house sits with homeowners on the platform. We were able to stay in London in a beautiful borough one summer this way, during peak tourist season when prices are at their highest.
- Travel Insurance: As we work remotely when traveling, we use SafetyWing when booking travel medical insurance. They offer policies suited to both short-term and long-term travel as well as policies for companies with remote workers.
- Tours: We love to look through options on Viator and GetYourGuide to see what fun activities we can book in the place we’re visiting. Not only does their list of tours and experiences give us inspiration, but it’s also very straightforward to book through their websites.
- VPN: We never connect to a public wife like a hotel, cafe, or airport wifi without a VPN. We’ve been using Express VPN since 2016.
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