Budget Travel Places to Visit 30 Destinations Around the World

When it comes to budget travel, there are plenty of destinations around the world that offer the essentials – accommodation, transportation, and food – for less. Whether you’re looking to go on a longer trip, enjoy a higher standard of living, or save more money, these 30 destinations have got you covered. From Asia to Europe, the Americas to Africa, here are some of the best countries to travel to on a budget in 2023:

ASIA

  1. Laos, $30/day

During my budget backpacking days in Southeast Asia, Laos was one of the two destinations where I was able to keep my budget at $30/day. While accommodation may be slightly more expensive than other Southeast Asian countries, there are plenty of cheap activities to enjoy. From visiting beautiful waterfalls for just $2.50, to tubing along the Vang Vieng river for $7, and getting a tiger balm massage for $6, there are plenty of affordable options. You can also rent a motorbike and explore smaller towns where everything is even cheaper. With new hostels catering to backpackers, you can go for cheaper and longer. If you have a bit more to spend, you can find gorgeous rooms for around $35, which would cost much more in the US.

  • Meals: $3 – $9 per day. Some hostels provide a basic breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $5 – $10 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $6 – $15 for a motorbike for the day, or up to $25 for an intercity bus ticket.
  • SIM card with data: $6 for 1.5GB with 30-day validity.

  • Vietnam, $35/day

Vietnam offers healthy and cheap street food, with options like soup with rice noodles and pork for $1.50, or a cup of aromatic coffee for $1. Transportation is affordable and reliable, with options like renting a motorbike for the day or using GrabBike, a bike-sharing service similar to Uber. Accommodation is also pleasant and easier to afford than in many other countries.

  • Meals: $5 – $12 per day. Some hostels provide a basic breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $5 – $10 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $8 – $15 for motorbike rental or GrabBike trips.
  • SIM card with data: $6 for 1.5GB with 30-day validity.

  • Cambodia, $30/day

If you’re willing to rough it, you can easily spend a month in Cambodia with just $1000. Dorms and food can be dirt cheap, and the locals are usually open to haggling. While there are some one-off expenses like the pass to Angkor Wat, there are also plenty of affordable activities and experiences to enjoy. Consider staying in boutique hotels for a couple of nights to treat yourself.

  • Meals: $5 – $10 per day. Some hostels provide breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $5 – $15 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $6 – $15 for a motorbike for the day or an intercity bus ticket.
  • SIM card with data: $2 for 1.5GB with 30-day validity.

  • Northern Thailand, $32/day

The north of Thailand is easy on a tight budget, with basic dorms available for less than $7. Eating street food is not only a money-saver but also offers a more authentic and delicious experience. Activities like visiting the White Temple or hiking are affordable, and you can also rent a car with three other people from your hostel for day trips.

  • Meals: $5 – $15 per day. Some hostels provide breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $5 – $10 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $6 – $10 for a motorbike for the day or a rental car split between 4 people.
  • SIM card with data: $7 for 1.5GB with 30-day validity.

  • Indonesia, $35/day

Indonesia can be both cheap and expensive, depending on your transportation choices. To save costs, stick with a region or two and make use of local transportation. Food and drinks are cheap throughout the country, and activities like riding a scooter through the mountains or hiking are affordable. Hostels are plentiful and affordable, especially in places like the Gili Islands.

  • Meals: $5 – $15 per day. Some hostels provide breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $7 – $15 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $8 – $15 for a motorbike for the day.
  • SIM card with data: $5 for 2GB with 30-day validity.

  • The Philippines, $37/day

The Philippines offers affordable travel options, especially if you plan your trip during the shoulder seasons and stick to 1-2 regions. While accommodation options may be limited in some areas, there are still plenty of affordable options available. The country has stunning islands, beautiful dive sites, and hidden gems that offer great value for money.

  • Meals: $5 – $15 per day. Some hostels provide breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $7 – $20 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $10 – $15 for a motorbike for the day or a boat ride from one island to another.
  • SIM card with data: $6 for 2GB with 30-day validity.

  • Malaysia, $40/day

Malaysia is often perceived as an expensive destination, but it can still be affordable, especially if you don’t plan on drinking every night. While alcohol is highly taxed, food and accommodation are relatively cheap. The country offers a mix of cultural experiences and natural beauty, with options like exploring Cameron Highlands, the jungles of Borneo, and the gorgeous islands.

  • Meals: $5 – $10 per day. Some hostels provide breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $7 – $15 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $5 – $7 for a full day of train and bus rides.
  • SIM card with data: $8 for 2GB with 30-day validity.

  • Sri Lanka, $35/day

Sri Lanka can be seen on a backpacker budget, especially if you avoid expensive activities like safaris and admission to UNESCO World Heritage sites. Food, transport, accommodation, and internet are relatively cheap. Transportation options like taxis and trains are affordable, and a budget-friendly option for long-distance travel is taking an overnight bus. Just be cautious about booking accommodation online, as some guesthouses have been taken over by big hotel chains.

  • Meals: $5 – $10 per day. Some hostels provide breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $8 – $15 per night in a local guesthouse.
  • Transportation: $15 – $20 per person for a private car and driver split between 4 people.
  • SIM card with data: $2 for 1.5GB with 30-day validity.

  • Nepal, $30/day ($15/day if trekking)

Nepal is a very cheap country to travel through, with most food, accommodation, and transport running at just a few dollars. Food options are abundant and affordable, and accommodation in local guesthouses is cheap. Transportation costs can be minimized by taking taxis or hiring a driver for the day. If you’re planning to trek, costs can be as low as $10 per day on food and accommodation at lower elevations.

  • Meals: $5 – $10 per day. Some hostels provide breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $7 – $12 per night in a local guesthouse.
  • Transportation: $10 – $15 per person for a private car and driver split between 4 people.
  • SIM card with data: $3 for 1.25GB with 30-day validity.

  • Taiwan, $45/day

Taiwan offers affordable street food, with options like fragrant rice with pork or chicken, deep-fried chicken chop, and delicious vermicelli. The city bike program in Taipei and Tainan allows you to get around the city for less than $0.50 per hour. While high-end food and clothing prices can be comparable to the US, local transportation and accommodation are still relatively cheap.

  • Meals: $5 – $10 per day. Some hostels provide breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $10 – $35 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $0 – $3 for a full day of bike, bus, and train rides.
  • SIM card with data: $33 for unlimited data with 28-day validity.

  • India, $25/day

India is perhaps the cheapest country to travel to, but it requires haggling and hunting for deals. Street food is cheap and delicious, and you can find cheap guesthouses and homestays. Public transportation is affordable, and booking things yourself can save you money. While entrance fees to museums and historical sites can be expensive, you don’t always have to enter to appreciate the architecture.

  • Meals: $3 – $6 per day.
  • Accommodation: $5 – $10 per night in a local guesthouse.
  • Transportation: $1 – $3 for a full day of bus and train rides.
  • SIM card with data: $3 for 1.5GB with 30-day validity.

  • Kyrgyzstan, $25/day

Kyrgyzstan is a budget-friendly destination in Central Asia. Food, accommodation, and transportation are all affordable, with local transportation being the cheapest option. Activities like hiking and exploring national parks are free or low-cost. Homestays with locals are also available and offer an authentic experience.

  • Meals: $4 – $8 per day.
  • Accommodation: $8 – $12 per night in a local guesthouse.
  • Transportation: $0.20 for a local minibus ride.
  • SIM card with data: $3 for 1.5GB with 30-day validity.

EUROPE

  1. Romania, $40/day

Romania offers affordable travel options, especially if you venture beyond the capital city of Bucharest. There are plenty of charming towns and free activities to explore. Accommodation, transportation, and food are all reasonably priced. Cooking your own meals can save you money, and public transportation is reliable and affordable.

  • Meals: $10 – $15 per day.
  • Accommodation: $12 – $20 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $5 – $10 for a full day of bus and train rides.
  • SIM card with data: $12 for 2GB with 30-day validity.

  • Georgia, $30/day

Georgia is an underrated and affordable European destination. Accommodation, transportation, and food all come with a reasonable price tag. Street food is cheap and delicious, and local transportation options are available in major cities. The country offers a mix of cultural experiences, beautiful landscapes, and interesting sights.

  • Meals: $10 – $15 per day.
  • Accommodation: $10 – $15 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $3 – $5 for a full day of bus and train rides.
  • SIM card with data: $3 for 1GB with 30-day validity.

  • Greece, $45/day

Greece can be an affordable destination if you plan your trip during the shoulder seasons and avoid the busiest months of July and August. Accommodation, transportation, and food costs can be minimized by booking in advance, cooking your own meals, and sticking to a group of islands for island hopping. Greece offers beautiful architecture, interesting sights, and stunning beaches.

  • Meals: $10 – $15 per day. Some hostels offer complimentary breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $12 – $30 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $10 – $15 per person for a rental car split between 4 people.
  • SIM card with data: $8 for 2GB with 30-day validity.

  • Czech Republic, $40/day

The Czech Republic, particularly Prague, has become more popular in recent years, leading to increased prices. However, the country is still relatively affordable compared to other central European destinations. Accommodation, transportation, and food options are available at reasonable prices. Local transportation, like trams, is cheap and reliable.

  • Meals: $10 – $15 per day.
  • Accommodation: $12 – $20 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $5 – $20 for a full day of tram rides or an intercity bus ride.
  • SIM card with data: $13 for 2GB with 1-month validity.

  • Poland, $44/day

Poland is an affordable central European country to travel in. Accommodation, transportation, and food are all reasonably priced. The country offers a mix of heritage sites, beautiful architecture, and interesting sights. Exploring smaller towns like Gdansk, Wroclaw, and Zakopane can be cheaper than staying in Krakow and Warsaw.

  • Meals: $10 – $15 per day.
  • Accommodation: $9 – $20 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $1 – $3 for a full day of train rides or an intercity train ride.
  • SIM card with data: $3 for 2GB with 1-month validity.

  • Croatia, $47/day

Croatia offers affordable travel options, especially if you plan your trip during the shoulder seasons and stick to a group of islands for island hopping. Accommodation, transportation, and food costs are reasonable. The country offers beautiful beaches, interesting architecture, and vibrant nightlife.

  • Meals: $10 – $15 per day. Some hostels offer complimentary breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $12 – $30 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $12 – $15 per person for a rental car split between 4 people or $10 – $15 for a ferry ride.
  • SIM card with data: $8 for 2GB with 30-day validity.

  • Turkey, $45/day

Turkey can be both cheap and expensive, depending on your activities and travel style. While some activities like hot air balloon rides can be expensive, there are plenty of affordable options to explore the country. Street food is cheap and delicious, and options for transportation and accommodation are also reasonably priced.

  • Meals: $10 – $15 per day. Some hostels offer complimentary breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $12 – $20 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $1 – $3 for a taxi ride or $30 – $60 for an intercity overnight bus ride.
  • SIM card with data: $8 for 2GB with 30-day validity.

  • Lithuania, $44/day

Lithuania is an affordable European destination that offers beautiful settings and unique accommodations. Food, transportation, and accommodation are all reasonably priced. While hostels may be limited in smaller towns, there are plenty of options in the capital city of Vilnius. The country offers charming towns, beautiful parks, and interesting historical sites.

  • Meals: $10 – $15 per day. Some hostels offer complimentary breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $10 – $20 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $3 – $6 for a full day of bus rides within the city or an intercity bus ride.
  • SIM card with data: $7 for 3GB with 30-day validity.

  • Estonia, $44/day

Estonia offers affordable travel options, especially if you’re willing to explore beyond the capital city of Tallinn. Nature lovers will enjoy the country’s forests and lakes, perfect for hiking and canoeing. Small towns like Kaunas and Klaipeda offer beautiful architecture and interesting sights. Accommodation may be limited in smaller towns, so consider basing yourself in Tallinn and making day trips.

  • Meals: $10 – $15 per day. Some hostels offer complimentary breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $10 – $20 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $3 – $6 for a full day of train rides within the city or an intercity train ride.
  • SIM card with data: $7 for 3GB with 30-day validity.

  • Latvia, $47/day

Latvia offers affordable travel options, especially for nature lovers. The country is covered in forests, and there are thousands of lakes and rivers for activities like canoeing. The best time to visit is during fall or winter for beautiful autumn colors or Christmas markets. Camping is a budget-friendly option, and cooking your own meals can save you money. Public transportation is reliable and affordable, although hostels may be limited in smaller towns.

  • Meals: $12 – $15 per day. Some hostels offer complimentary breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $14 – $25 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $2 – $5 for a full day of train rides within the city or an intercity train ride.
  • SIM card with data: $7 for 3GB with 30-day validity.

THE AMERICAS

  1. Mexico, $42/day

Mexico offers endless adventures and affordable travel options. While safety concerns exist in certain areas, most violence is limited to specific regions. The country is rich in culture, nature, and delicious food. Accommodation, transportation, and food can be affordable, with street food options providing cheap and tasty meals. Hostels are plentiful and affordable, and public transportation is reliable and affordable as well.

  • Meals: $8 – $15 per day. Some hostels offer complimentary breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $10 – $17 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $3 – $5 for a full day of bus and train rides or $30 – $50 for an intercity bus ride.
  • SIM card with data: $10 for 2GB with a 30-day validity.

  • Nicaragua, $35/day

Nicaragua is one of the cheapest Central American destinations to travel in. While safety concerns exist, there are still plenty of safe places to explore. The country offers beautiful landscapes, outdoor activities, and interesting cultural experiences. Food and accommodation are cheap, and transportation options like chicken buses are affordable. Accommodation options may be limited outside of major cities, so consider booking in advance or using Couchsurfing.

  • Meals: $6 – $10 per day. Some hostels offer complimentary breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $5 – $15 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $1 – $3 for a full day of chicken bus rides or $8 – $15 for an intercity bus ride.
  • SIM card with data: $12 for 1GB with a 30-day validity.

  • Colombia, $35/day

Colombia is an affordable South American destination with plenty of adventures to offer. The country has a dark past, but it has become safer in recent years. Accommodation, transportation, and food are all reasonably priced. From historical sites in Bogota to the Amazon rainforest, there is something for everyone. Diving enthusiasts will also find some of the world’s best diving sites in Colombia.

  • Meals: $10 – $15 per day. Some hostels offer complimentary breakfast.
  • Accommodation: $8 – $12 per night in a hostel.
  • Transportation: $1 – $3 for a full day of bus and train rides or $10 – $50 for an intercity bus ride.
  • SIM card with data: $13 for 2GB with a 30-day validity.

  • Arizona & Utah (for a road trip!), $45/day

While the US is generally not a super budget-friendly destination, a road trip through Arizona and Utah can be affordable. Renting a camper van and camping on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land can save money on accommodation. Cooking your own meals can also cut down on food costs. The national park pass allows entry into any national park for an entire year, saving money on entrance fees.

  • Meals: $12 – $15 per day.
  • Accommodation: Free (camping on BLM land).
  • Transportation: $9 per day for a camper van split between 4 people.
  • SIM card with data: $35 for 1GB with a 30-day validity.

AFRICA

  1. South Africa, $42/day

South Africa offers affordable travel options, especially if you’re traveling with USD or Euro. The exchange rate alone can save you money. Ac